Perception of mothers and selected informal caregivers regarding maternal depression in two communities of Ibadan in Nigeria

  • Adeyinka Olufolake Adefolarin
  • Oyedunni S Arulogun


This article described the perception of maternal depression among young mothers and informal caregivers with no known antecedents of depression residing in two communities in Ibadan, Nigeria. This study is qualitative in design. We purposively selected fifty-one pregnant women and nursing mothers within the communities and the clinics. Thirty three maternity informal care givers were also selected. We utilized Focus Group Discussions (FGD), Key Informant Interviews (KIIs), open-ended interviews and document consultation to obtain information about maternal depression. Discussions and interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis withNvivo version 15. Common phrases used to describe maternal depression were “severe worrying” and “chronic unhappiness”. More young women opined that maternal depression was caused by lack of partner support while more of the men and elderly mothers felt spiritual causes were responsible. Symptoms of MD described by the participants were prolonged loss of interest in pleasurable activities, being moody, crying, keeping to oneself and being irritable. Common consequences of MD mentioned were hypertension, premature onset of labour and low birth weight babies. The perceived help-seeking behaviour included appeasing the offended spiritual deity; special prayers and deliverance. Community Birth Attendants mentioned referral to a psychiatrist as a last resort. Participants were aware of maternal depression and its symptoms, however, there were misconceptions about the causes which influenced the perceived help-seeking. Health education interventions to dispel these misconceptions should therefore target mothers and informal caregivers in the study area


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