Immigrant Women's Mental Health in Canada in the Antenatal and Postpartum Period

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Abstract

Immigrant women constitute a relatively large sector of Canadian society. In 2011, immigrant women made up a fifth of Canada's female population, the highest proportion in 100 years; based on the current trends of immigration, this proportion is expected to grow over the next 20 years. As women immigrate and find themselves simultaneously experiencing an unfamiliar environment, being unacquainted with societal norms, and lacking vital social networks, they become vulnerable to mental health problems. This article aims to undertake a narrative review of the literature on immigrant women's mental health in Canada during antenatal and postpartum care by employing the transnational theory as a theoretical framework. The article starts with an overview of the theoretical framework, followed by a discussion on a literature review that particularly talks about culture, isolation and social support network, social determinants of health, and access to health care as elements to consider in avoiding mental health problem among immigrant women in antenatal and postpartum care. The literature shows a high number of depression among immigrant women, and mental health problems are higher among visible minorities than Caucasians. The highest antenatal and postpartum depression recorded are 42% and 13%, respectively. As Canada has long been and continues to be the land of immigrants, addressing the multiple factors affecting immigrant women's mental health is paramount to Canada truly achieving “health for all.”

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