INTRODUCTION: Pacific women in New Zealand (NZ) have higher rates of antenatal depression than women from other ethnic groups. AIM: To identify factors that are significantly associated with depression symptoms in pregnant Pacific women living in NZ.
METHODS: Data were collected from 5657 pregnant women, 727 of whom identified their ethnicity as Pacific Island. Antenatal depression symptoms were measured using the Edinburgh Depression Scale with scores above 12 indicating elevated antenatal depression symptoms (ADS).
RESULTS: Pacific women had significantly higher rates of ADS than non-Pacific women, with 23% of pregnant Pacific women experiencing ADS. Factors associated with ADS for Pacific women included age <25 >years, moderate to severe nausea during pregnancy, perceived stress, family stress and relationship conflict. Not seeing the importance of maintaining one's Pacific culture and traditions and negative feelings towards NZ culture were also significantly associated with ADS in Pacific women. One in three Pacific women aged (GP) before their pregnancy were 4.5-fold more likely to experience ADS than non-Pacific women with a regular GP.
DISCUSSION: Further attention is required to providing appropriate primary health care for Pacific women of child-bearing age in NZ. Better screening processes and a greater understanding of effective antenatal support for Pacific women is recommended to respond to the multiple risk factors for antenatal depression among Pacific women.