: The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and stress among postpartum Arab mothers of preterm or low birth weight (LBW) infants and to identify maternal characteristics that can predict psychological distress among mothers of preterm infants.
: A hospital-based study was conducted. A representative sample of 2,091 postpartum mothers was surveyed and 1,659 women (79.3%) gave their consent to participate in the study. The study was based on a face-to-face interview with a designed questionnaire covering sociodemographic characteristics, anthropometric measures, medical history, and maternal characteristics. Depression, anxiety, and stress were measured using the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21).
: In the study sample, 10.2% of the postpartum mothers had preterm/LBW infants. Depression (29.4 vs. 17.3%) and anxiety (26.5 vs. 11.6%) were significantly more common among mothers of preterm births compared to mothers of full term infants (p < 0.001). The risk of depression in mothers of preterm/LBW infants was two times the risk in mothers of full term infants, while the risk of anxiety was 2.7 times in mothers of preterm/LBW infants than in mothers of full term infants. Young mothers and those who had less than secondary education (42.0 vs. 21.7%; p = 0.007) and lower monthly household income (72.0 vs. 53.3%; p = 0.024) were more depressed and anxious after the preterm birth when compared with mothers of full term infants. Psychological distress was higher in mothers with history of preterm birth (30.0 vs. 21.7%) and delivery complications (52.0 vs. 33.3%).
: We found a greater risk of depression and anxiety in mothers of preterm births than in mothers of full term infants. Our analysis revealed that depressed and anxious women of preterm infants were younger, less educated, had a lower body weight and low household income than non-depressed and non-anxious women.
Keywords: Prevalence; obstetric risks; low birth weight; preterm; depression; postpartum; Arab