Resilience and prenatal mental health in Pakistan: a qualitative inquiry

Shireen Shehzad Bhamani, David Arthur, An Sofie Van Parys, Nicole Letourneau, Gail Wagnild, Shahirose Sadrudin Premji, Nargis Asad, Olivier Degomme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Women in Pakistan suffer from a high rate of depression. The stress of low-income, illiteracy, exposure to violence and living in a patriarchal society are predisposing vulnerabilities for depression, particularly during and following pregnancy. The resilience of an individual plays a significant role in promoting prenatal mental health, but this has yet to be thoroughly researched. In this article, our objective is to identify the core characteristics of resilience among pregnant women, which will then help us in developing an intervention. Methods: The exploratory-descriptive study was conducted over 6 months in five different antenatal hospitals in Sindh, Pakistan. A total of 17 semi-structured interviews were conducted with pregnant women, purposefully selected with heterogeneous characteristics to explore diverse perspectives, while symptoms of depression were quantified by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale before the interview. Verbatim transcriptions were coded openly and merged into categories and themes. Result: A total of six themes emerged from in-depth thematic analysis: 1) purpose of life, 2) dealing with emotions, 3) believing in yourself, 4) optimistic approach, 5) strengthening support and relationship and 6) spirituality and humanity. Women agreed that these characteristics could help them improve their mental health. Conclusion: In conclusion, these themes were the core components of pregnant women’s resilience which ultimately could help to promote prenatal mental health. These pave a pathway towards developing culturally and contextually resilience interventions aimed at enhancing mental health of pregnant women which then may improve neonatal and family mental wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number839
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Depression
  • Perinatal mental illness
  • Pregnant women
  • Resilience


Dive into the research topics of 'Resilience and prenatal mental health in Pakistan: a qualitative inquiry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this