Depressive symptoms in mothers after perinatal and early infant loss in rural Bangladesh: a population-based study

Pamela J. Surkan, Kwame Sakyi, Donna M. Strobino, Sucheta Mehra, Alain Labrique, Hasmot Ali, Barkat Ullah, Lee Wu, Rolf Klemm, Mahbubur Rashid, Keith P. West, Parul Christian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose We examined stillbirth and neonatal death as predictors of depressive symptoms in women experiencing these events during the first 6 months postpartum. Methods We performed secondary analyses using data from 41,348 married women aged 13–44 years, originally collected for the JiVitA-1 study (2001–2007) in northwest Bangladesh. Adjusted relative risk ratios were estimated to determine the associations between stillbirth and early infant death and women's risk of reported depressive symptoms (trichotomized 0, 1–2, 3–5) up to 6 months after the death. Adjusted risk ratios, comparing 0–2 versus 3–5 depressive symptoms, were used in stratified analyses. Results Women having fetal/infant deaths had elevated risk of experiencing 1–2 postpartum depressive symptoms (adj RRRs between 1.2 and 1.7) and of experiencing 3–5 postpartum depressive symptoms (adj RRRs between 1.9 and 3.3), relative to women without a fetal/infant death. Notably, those whose infants died in the early postneonatal period had over a three-fold risk of 3–5 depressive symptoms (adj relative risk ratio [RRR] = 3.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.6–4.3) compared to a two-fold risk for women experiencing a stillbirth (adj RRR = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.7–2.1). After early postneonatal deaths, women with higher levels of education were more likely to suffer 3–5 depressive symptoms (adj relative risk [RR] = 10.6; 95% CI, 5.2–21.7, ≥10 years of education) compared to women with lower levels of education (adj RR = 2.0; 95% CI, 1.6–2.4, no education; adj RR = 2.2; 95% CI, 1.6–2.9, 1–9 years of education). Conclusions Women's mental health needs should be prioritized in low-resource settings, where these outcomes are relatively common and few mental health services are available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-473
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2016


  • Bangladesh
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Mental health
  • Neonatal death
  • Stillbirth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Depressive symptoms in mothers after perinatal and early infant loss in rural Bangladesh: a population-based study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this