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Salud mental

Print version ISSN 0185-3325


LARA, Ma. Asunción; NAVARRETE, Laura; NIETO, Lourdes  and  BERENZON, Shoshana. Acceptability and barriers to treatment for perinatal depression: An exploratory study in Mexican women. Salud Ment [online]. 2014, vol.37, n.4, pp.293-301. ISSN 0185-3325.

Background Depression is frequently experienced during the perinatal period. In Mexico, it has received very little attention from researchers and health service providers. It is well known that untreated depression is one of the leading causes of disability in women. Objective This study seeks to explore: 1. the recognition of perinatal depression among pregnant and postpartum women; 2. the acceptance of various modalities of treatment for depression, and 3. the perception of the barriers to receive treatment. Material and methods For this descriptive, exploratory study, 41 women in the third trimester of pregnancy and 30 women between the fourth and sixth postpartum weeks were interviewed. The study was conducted at a health center and a general hospital. The interview included demographic and obstetric data; depressive symptomatology (PHQ-2); open questions on the recognition of perinatal depression and scales relating to the acceptance of treatment modalities and barriers to access health services. Results Almost all the women had heard of the term postpartum depression, while one quarter did not know the causes of this disorder, which was attributed to an inability to face new challenges, emotional and hormonal changes, and lack of social support. The majority considered that it is not easy to speak about their unhappiness or discomfort, and that people would not understand if pre- or post-partum women felt sad or depressed in this period. Individual psychotherapy was the treatment with the highest level of acceptance, while medication, during pregnancy or breastfeeding, was the least accepted. The main barriers to treatment were: lack of time; institutional procedures; being unable to afford care and not having anyone to look after the children. Conclusions These results constitute a preliminary approach to the care needs for depression during the perinatal period. Women's awareness that help is required may not suffice to encourage them to seek assistance due to instrumental barriers and attitudes to treatment. In order to ensure effective care, it is necessary for the official norms regulating the health care for women and babies in this period to include treatment for mental disorders.

Keywords : Post-partum depression; health care services; barriers to treatment; pregnancy.

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