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Pregnant women’s experience of depression care

Patricia M. Jarrett (Centre for Critical Research in Nursing and Midwifery (CCRNM), Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 14 March 2016




Up to 25 per cent of women will experience depression during their pregnancy. Perinatal mental health problems are a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality, however care provided to women is often a low priority. The purpose of this paper is to explore women’s perspective of care from GPs and midwives, when they experience symptoms of depression during pregnancy.


Women, with self-reported symptoms of depression, were invited to post comments in response to a series of on-line questions posted on two discussion forums over a nine month period. The questions were related to the care women received from GPs and midwives. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.


In total, 22 women responded to the on-line questions. A number of themes were identified from the data including women’s disclosure of symptoms to GPs and midwives; lack of knowledge of perinatal mental health among health providers; attitudes of staff and systemic issues as barriers to good care; anti-depressant therapy and care that women found helpful.

Research limitations/implications

Women often face significant emotional and psychological health issues in the transition to motherhood. This small study indicates women often experience difficulties in interacting with their GP and midwife in seeking help. This research has identified some contributing factors, however more rigorous research is needed to explore these complex issues.


This paper highlights service provision in the care of women with depression in pregnancy.



This study was funded by The Burdett Trust for Nursing. Full costs for the project were made. The Burdett Trust for Nursing had no involvement in the conduct of the research.


Jarrett, P.M. (2016), "Pregnant women’s experience of depression care", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 33-47.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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