Worldwide prevalence of suicide attempt in pregnant and postpartum women: a meta-analysis of observational studies

Wen Wang Rao, Yuan Yang, Tian Jiao Ma, Qinge Zhang, Gabor S. Ungvari, Brian J. Hall, Yu Tao Xiang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Past suicide attempts (SA) are a major contributor to suicide. The prevalence of SA in pregnant and postpartum women varied significantly across studies. Therefore, this meta-analysis was conducted to examine the prevalence of SA and its mediating factors in this population. Methods: Relevant articles published in PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Medline complete, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure database (CNKI), Chinese Wanfang and Chongqing VIP database were systematically searched from inception to March 28, 2019. Titles, abstracts and full texts were reviewed independently by three researchers. Studies were included if they reported data on SA prevalence or provided relevant data that enabled the calculation of SA prevalence. Data were extracted by two researchers and checked by one senior researcher. The random-effects model was used to analyze data by the CMA 2.0 and Stata 12.0, with the high degree of statistical heterogeneity present. The primary outcomes were prevalence of SA with 95% CI during pregnancy and during the first-year postpartum. Results: Fourteen studies covering 6,406,245 pregnant and postpartum women were included. The pooled prevalence of SA was 680 per 100,000 (95% confidence interval 0.10–4.69%) during pregnancy and 210 per 100,000 (95% confidence interval 0.01–3.21%) during the first-year postpartum. Data source was significantly associated with prevalence of SA in the subgroup analysis (pregnancy, p < 0.001; the first-year postpartum, p = 0.013). Conclusion: The prevalence of SA is not high in pregnant and postpartum women. Due to the potential loss of life and negative impact of SA on health outcomes, however, careful screening and effective preventive measures should be implemented for this population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Nov 2020


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