According to WHO, Reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes during all stages of life.
A growing amount of literature reports a bi-directional relationship between reproductive health and mental health. On one hand, sexual and reproductive ill health events lead to poor mental health outcomes: studies report elevated rates of depression, suicide attempts, and anxiety disorders among adolescent girls becoming pregnant or mothers; among adults exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV); and among women with a history of abortion or stillbirth. On the other hand, mental health challenges can heighten reproductive health vulnerabilities. Individuals with psychological problems (such as substance abuse) are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors which can increase their chances of having negative outcomes such as early pregnancies, or HIV. Mental health affects reproductive health outcomes among women, and reproductive health also affects mental health.
Although advances in reproductive health and mental health sciences have improved health in both domains globally, studies report greater risk factors and low access to health services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Systematic reviews conducted in LMICs have shown that about 16% of pregnant women and 20% of those who have given birth experience common maternal mental health disorders while in high income countries rates vary between 10% and 13% respectively.
The objective of this Research Topic is to explore the relationship between reproductive health and mental health during various stages of life and pregnancy; to document the magnitude of the problem in LMICS; to highlight studies analyzing current practice and innovative approaches in this domain, and to lay the foundation for establishing an early screening, diagnosis, and treatment strategy for mental health problems associated with reproductive health problems.
Potential submissions may include, but are not restricted to the following:
• Systematic reviews about maternal mental health problems in LMICs
• Epidemiological studies about the prevalence and risk factors for mental health problems among women in LMICs
• Maternal mental health in LMICs
We welcome manuscripts conducted in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, midwifery, nursing, psychiatry, psychology, social work, epidemiology, and public health that addressed the above-mentioned topics. Submission of systematic reviews, secondary synthesis of data, original research, and clinical trial are welcome.
This topic is one of two exploring reproductive health and mental health – see volume 1 on Adolescences here