Due to the phenomenon of immigration, many women live motherhood far from their places of origin. The perinatal period is a very complex phase of life and literature shows that the process of transition to motherhood may be at higher risk for immigrant women. The study aims to compare the prevalence of depressive and anxious symptoms, the quality of social support, and the main risk factors for perinatal mental distress in immigrant and Italian women in the first months after childbirth. Italian (N=308) and immigrant (N=108) women attending vaccination services, were administered a psychosocial risk form, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Analyses showed higher prevalence of depressive symptoms and increased psychosocial risks in immigrant women. Statistically significant differences were found with respect to younger age, increased number of children, absence of partner, lower social support, lower education, unemployment, and limited use of local services. The results of the study confirmed that immigrant women are at higher risk of experiencing emotional distress in the postpartum and highlighted the co-presence of different personal, family and contextual risk factors. These indicators can be useful in forging effective interventions aimed at reaching foreign women.
Keywords: Immigrant mothers, perinatal depression, perinatal anxiety, psychosocial risk factors.