Slovenian midwives' and nurses' views on post-natal depression: an exploratory study


Ana P. Mivšek, Midwifery Department, College of Health Studies, Poljanska 26a, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia. Tel: 386-1-300-11-86; Fax: 386-1-300-11-19; E-mail:


Background:  Post-natal depression affects approximately 10–15% of women. The literature suggests that midwives and nurses are key professionals in dealing with post-natal mood disorders. However, this would be a new role in Slovenia for which it is not clear whether midwives and nurses are prepared.

Aim:  This study explored Slovenian midwives' and nurses' knowledge of, and attitudes towards, post-natal mood disorders.

Methods:  Two focus groups were conducted, each with five participants, working in the maternity hospital and in the community centre in Postojna.

Findings:  Data were grouped into three main themes – knowledge of post-natal mental health disorders, role in the management of these issues, and perceived problems and possible solutions in the health care of post-natally depressed women. Participants lacked knowledge on post-natal mental health and did not consider its management to be their role. They saw the main obstacle to caring for these women as being a lack of continuity of carer.

Conclusion:  Slovenian midwives and nurses should be appropriately educated regarding this subject in order to become more capable of managing post-natal mental health. Continuous relationships with women should be encouraged.

Limitations:  Further investigation is required and a questionnaire survey involving a larger sample of midwives and community nurses is planned on the basis of the findings of this study.