Greater levels of depression in Americanized Latina women seeking pregnancy and postpartum services

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A study published in the most recent release of the Maternal and Child Health Journal has revealed greater levels of depression in Latina women seeking pregnancy and postpartum services among those that are more “Americanized.” Americanization, or acculturation, was most notably indicated by preferred language and place of birth. Elevated levels of depression were found in Latina‚Äôs who were born in the U.S. as well as those that asked to conduct their interview in English. The study was composed of 439 Latinas seeking postpartum and pregnancy services at public health clinics in San Antonio. Lead author, Marivel Davila, a quantitative research analyst at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, commenting said, “Screening for depression during pregnancy is important for this population group, given Latinas’ high rates of fertility and births to single women, particularly among more acculturated U.S.- born Latinas.” The following is an excerpt of an article from Medical News Today that reviews the study’s findings:

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, single motherhood among Latinas in Texas exceeds the national average. In Texas in 2005, 43 percent of all Latina births were to single women. Nationally, the overall average was 37 percent.

“The sample for this study was a low-income population,” Davila said. “Our conclusions may or may not be different for women in other socioeconomic status (SES) groups. Hence, more research needs to be conducted among Latinas from differing SES groups, including research focusing on the role of social support and cultural values/beliefs related to childbirth and pregnancy among Latinas.”

The women were interviewed in eight family planning clinics and six prenatal clinics of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (SAMHD) between May and August of 2003. Of the participants, 318 were born in Mexico and 121 in the United States. They were given the choice of conducting the interview in English or Spanish.

“The higher prevalence rate of depression in Americanized Latina women is of concern in our community as the population demographics clearly indicate a significant rate of growth of this group in their childbearing years,” said Fernando A. Guerra, M.D., director of health for the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. “Thus, it is important to more clearly understand the circumstances that affect their physical and emotional well-being during pregnancy so that preventive measures can be initiated. This is critical for the overall health of both the mother and child.”

Click here to read the rest of this article from Medical News Today

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