Postpartum Maternal Mood Among Hadza Foragers of Tanzania: A Mixed Methods Approach

  • Kristen N. Herlosky
  • Daniel C. Benyshek
  • Ibrahim A. Mabulla
  • Trevor R. Pollom
  • Alyssa N. CrittendenEmail author
Original Paper


Infant and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world in low and middle-income countries where postpartum depression impacts at least one in five women. Currently, there is a dearth of data on maternal mood and infant health outcomes in small-scale non-industrial populations from such countries, particularly during the postnatal period. Here, we present the first investigation of postpartum maternal mood among a foraging population, the Hadza of Tanzania. We administered the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) to twenty-three women, all with infants under the age of 12 months. Semi-structured interviews on happiness and unhappiness during the post-partum period served as a validity cross-check for the EPDS. The combined results of the EPDS surveys and the interview responses suggest that a high proportion of Hadza women experience significant mood disturbances following birth and that postpartum unhappiness is associated with self-reports of pain, anxiety, and disturbed sleep patterns. These findings suggest that many of the mothers in our sample are experiencing post-partum unhappiness at levels similar to or higher than those reported for low to middle income countries in general, including Tanzania. These data are critical for improving our understanding of the etiologies of postpartum mood disturbances cross-culturally.


EPDS Hadza Maternal health Postpartum depression Foragers 


Supplementary material

11013_2019_9655_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 28 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristen N. Herlosky
    • 1
  • Daniel C. Benyshek
    • 1
  • Ibrahim A. Mabulla
    • 2
  • Trevor R. Pollom
    • 1
  • Alyssa N. Crittenden
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Nutrition and Reproduction Laboratory, Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Nevada Las VegasLas VegasUSA
  2. 2.National MuseumDar Es SalaamTanzania

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