High levels of depressive symptoms and low quality of life are reported during pregnancy in Cape Coast, Ghana; a longitudinal study

Ruth Adisetu Pobee, Jacob Setorglo, Moses Kwashie Klevor, Laura E. Murray-Kolb

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7 Scopus citations


Background: Significant rates of anxiety, depressive symptoms, and low quality of life (QoL) have been found among pregnant women in developed countries. These psychosocial disturbances have not been adequately assessed during pregnancy in many developing countries. Methods: Women were recruited in their first trimester of pregnancy (< 13 weeks; n = 116) and followed through to their 2nd (n = 71) and 3rd (n = 71) trimesters. Questionnaires were used to collect data on anxiety symptoms (Beck Anxiety Inventory; BAI), depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Inventory; CES-D), and quality of life (RAND SF-36; QoL). Psychometric analyses were used to determine the reliability of the questionnaires in this context. The proportion of pregnant women with psychosocial disturbances at each trimester was determined. Repeated measures ANOVA were used to examine changes in psychosocial outcomes over time; and generalized estimating equation to determine if gestational age predicted the psychosocial outcomes whilst controlling for sociodemographic variables. Results: Participants were aged 27.1 ± 5.2 years, on average. Psychometric analyses revealed a 4-factor solution for BAI (18 items), 1-factor solution for CES-D (13 items) and 4-factor solution for RAND SF-36 (26 items). The prevalence estimate of psychosocial disturbances was 34%, 10%, 2% (anxiety), 49%, 31%, 34% (depressive symptoms), and 46%, 37%, 59% (low QoL) for 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters, respectively. Gestational age and food insecurity were significant predictors of depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms and QoL. Conclusions: In this population of Ghanaian women, the levels of depressive symptoms and low QoL observed across pregnancy should be recognized as major public health problems and efforts to address these should be put in place. Addressing food insecurity may be a major step to solve not only the physical needs of the pregnant woman but also the psychological needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number894
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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