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Perinatal mental health in Ireland: a scoping review

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-08-17, 08:27 authored by SUSANN HUSCHKE, Sylvia Murphy TigheSylvia Murphy Tighe, MAEBH BARRYMAEBH BARRY
Background The international literature clearly indicates that perinatal mental health issues affect many women, and can have profound negative consequences for both the mother, infant and family, and that the causes of perinatal mental health issues are multifaceted and complex. Aim This scoping review explores the existing research on perinatal mental health in Ireland to provide a baseline and to guide further research as well as inform the implementation of the recent policy strategies. Design Scoping Review Methods We conducted a structured literature search on Science Direct, Web of Science, PubMed, PsychInfo and Scopus, using key words to search for publications up to December 2018. All publications based on empirical studies on perinatal mental health in Ireland (regardless of research design, sample size, and methods used) were included. Exclusion criteria were: study location not the Republic of Ireland; not relating to the perinatal period (pregnancy up to the first 12 months after birth); not relating to mental health; and not relating to maternal mental health, not relating to human subjects; not an empirical study; international study with generalised results. Data were mapped onto a charting form, allowing us to a) conduct a basic numerical analysis of prevalent research questions and designs, and b) to identify key themes within the data, utilising Braun and Clarke's (2006) thematic analysis. Results The search resulted in 623 unique references. 29 publications were included in this review. Our analysis resulted in three main findings. (1) A significant number of women in Ireland are affected by perinatal mental health problems, but prevalence rates vary significantly between studies. (2) A history of mental health problems and lack of social support were identified as key risk factors. (3) The existing perinatal mental health services in Ireland are generally inadequate. We further noted a focus on quantitative approaches and a medicalisation of perinatal mental health, resulting in an absence of women's voices and their lived experiences, particularly those of women of colour, migrant women and ethnic minorities. Conclusions and implications for practice: We conclude that in order to further the vision of woman-centred maternity care, we need to conduct woman-centred research that puts women's subjective experiences of perinatal mental health and well-being at the centre, including those of marginalised women in an increasingly diverse Irish society.



Midwifery;89, 102763






This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Midwifery. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Midwifery, 89, 102763,



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