Objective: The postpartum period is characterized by significant physical, social and psychological changes which could be overwhelming. This study assessed the prevalence and correlates of suicidal behaviour in postpartum women six weeks after delivery.
Study design: This was a cross sectional study which consecutively recruited 235 postpartum women from the postnatal outpatient clinic of the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, Nigeria. Suicidal behavior was assessed with the Mini International Neuro-Psychiatric Interview (MINI). The Oslo Social Support scale and a socio-demographic questionnaire were also administered.
The age of the participants ranged from 18 to 48 years with a mean age of 30.7 (± 5.0) years. The prevalence of suicidal behaviour was 11.1%. The factors associated with suicidality on bivariate analysis were unemployment (p=0.005), poor social support (p=0.002), lack of emotional involvement of partner (p=0.032) and high perfectionism personality trait in the postpartum women (p=0.003). On regression analysis, unemployment status (OR=3.05, 95% CI=0.978-1.459, p=0.016) and high perfectionism personality trait of the women (OR=1.29, 95% CI= 1.049-1.578, p=0.015) were significantly associated with suicidality.
Conclusion: This study underscores the need for comprehensive mental health evaluation among postpartum women for optimal maternal and infant health