Prevalence and risk factors of postpartum depression among women living in the United Arab Emirates

Nivine Hanach, Hadia Radwan, Randa Fakhry, Cindy Lee Dennis, Wegdan Bani issa, Moez Al Islam E. Faris, Reyad Shaker Obaid, Suad Al Marzooqi, Charbel Tabet, Nanne De Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Postpartum depression received almost no attention in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The aim was to examine the prevalence of depressive symptomatology and the associated risk factors among women in the UAE. Methods: A prospective cohort study recruited women from postpartum wards in hospitals across four emirates in the UAE. Women completed questionnaires immediately after childbirth and at 3 and 6 months postpartum. Depressive symptomatology was measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS > 12). Risk factors were identified using the generalized estimating equation. A stratified analysis of the postpartum period was performed. Results: Among the 457 women recruited, 35% exhibited depressive symptomatology within the first 6 months postpartum. Younger women (< 25 years), part-time employment, the receipt of financial support from the family, and difficulty in managing monthly income were associated with a higher risk of postpartum depression. Husband’s employment, husband’s support, and living in own house were associated with a lower risk of postpartum depression. Maternity leave of more than 3 months increased the risk of depression during the first 3 months postpartum. From 3 to 6 months postpartum, Muslim women had a higher risk of depression whereas women who breastfed other children and in the past 7 days, and perceived their infant as healthy had a lower risk of depression. Conclusions: The prevalence of maternal depressive symptomatology is considerable in the UAE. Risk factors change over the 6-month postpartum period suggesting the need for an innovative multidisciplinary approach to the management of postpartum depression, including follow-up screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-407
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Maternal mental health
  • Postpartum depression
  • Postpartum period
  • Prevalence
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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