Postpartum depression among Israeli Bedouin women

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Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common complication of childbirth with prevalence estimated at 10–20% reported in many countries, including Israel. However, no data has been reported for Israeli Bedouin women, whose lifestyle is significantly different from that of the general population. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of PPD among Bedouin women in the southern Negev. The study included 104 women attending public health clinics for pregnancy and postpartum care. PPD symptoms were assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). The rate of PPD symptoms was 43% at the EPDS cut-off score of 10, and 26% at the more stringent cut-off score of 13. This rate is considerably higher than reported rates among Israeli Jewish women. No significant difference was found between a score of ≥10 and maternal age, number of children, or level of education; however, at the EPDS score of ≥13, there was an inverse relationship between educational level and PPD symptoms. Lower rates were found among women whose pregnancies were planned and those who worked out of the home. The high rate of PPD among these Israeli Bedouin women challenges health authorities to find ways minimize the negative consequences for themselves, their children, and families.

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