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Int J Ment Health Syst. 2007 Aug 9;1(1):3. doi: 10.1186/1752-4458-1-3.

Relative socioeconomic advantage and mood during advanced pregnancy in women in Vietnam.

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Key Centre for Women's Health in Society, University of Melbourne, Australia.



Mental health during pregnancy has not been investigated in Vietnam. Antenatal depression is an established risk factor for postpartum mood disturbance and two representative cohort studies have found rates of depression after childbirth in Vietnam two to three times higher than those in high income countries.


The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate the prevalence and determinants of depression in a cohort of pregnant Vietnamese women. This was the subsidiary aim of an investigation of sexual beliefs and behaviours in pregnancy in Vietnam.


Participants were recruited from antenatal clinics at Hanoi Obstetric Hospital. Inclusion criteria were to be in advanced pregnancy and appear well educated and confident and therefore potentially be willing to discuss sexual matters. Data were collected by individual structured interviews assessing socio-demographic characteristics, reproductive health, quality of intimate relationship and adequacy of support. Emotional wellbeing was assessed by the Vietnamese translation of the Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS).


In total 61/74 (82%) of women approached to participate were recruited. The mean EDS score of 5.42 +/- 3.8, was similar to that of community cohorts in high income countries and only one participant scored above 15. The cohort was relatively socioeconomically advantaged with high rates of post-secondary education, secure salaried employment, reproductive autonomy and ability to afford higher quality antenatal care. Most participants were able to confide in their husbands and their pregnancies were welcome. Worse mood was associated with insecure casual work, crowded living conditions and experiencing critical coercion in the marital relationship.


There is an apparently low prevalence of symptoms of depression in relatively socioeconomically advantaged pregnant women in Vietnam.

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