Psychological Distress during the Perinatal Period: Using Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and the Study Specific Measure of Perinatal Distress (SSMPD) on a Zambian Cohort

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Mwape, Lonia
Mukwato, Patricia Katowa
Mweemba, Prudencia
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Background: Psychological distress during the perinatal period affects the woman experiencing it, her baby, and the family a whole. It presents a challenge during this exciting and special time in woman’s life. Various screening instruments have been established to identify psychological distress. This paper reports results of the data collected to determine the prevalence of psychological distress using the EPDS, GHQ-12, and the Study Specific Measure of Psychological Distress. Aim: The study investigates the prevalence of psychological distress during the perinatal period in a Zambian cohort. Methods: A longitudinal descriptive study was conducted on a Zambian cohort consisting of 300 women during their antenatal and postnatal periods. The participants were accessed through antenatal and postnatal clinics in primary health care facilities. Findings: The study revealed high prevalence of psychological distress in the cohort under study in comparison to global estimations. This is as detected by the EPDS and GHQ-12, including the study specific measure of psychological distress. Conclusion: The prevalence of psychological distress during the perinatal period in Zambia is high. Therefore, the psychological well-being of a woman during the perinatal period needs to be given the attention that it deserves in order to safeguard the well-being of the baby and all the people around her. Recommendations: Screening women for the presence of psychological distress during the antenatal and postnatal periods should be mandatory. Appropriate referral should then be made depending on the outcome of the screening. Key words: Psychological distress, Perinatral period, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, General Health
Psychological distress , Perinatral period , Edinburgh Postnatal