Perinatal (antenatal and postpartum) depression is increasingly becoming a global public health problem. Studies have shown that the presence of depression during the perinatal period impact on a mother’s ability to adequately provide nutritional care for herself and her infants and young children. This may thus negatively influence the nutritional status of these vulnerable children resulting in poor growth, such as stunting which is currently a public health problem in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the association between maternal postpartum depression and child growth in LMICs. Electronic databases were systematically reviewed by screening abstracts, titles, full text and additional data sources of eligible papers. Articles were eligible for inclusion if based on children aged 0 to 59 months, if reporting maternal postpartum depression as an exposure, if based on observational studies evaluating the relation between maternal postpartum depression and child growth, if reporting at least one physical growth indicator such as stunting as an outcome, and if published after 2000. Article selection was based on the PRISMA guidelines for reporting systematic reviews. Twelve articles were included in the quantitative synthesis (12 for stunting, 8 for underweight and 2 for wasting). Maternal postpartum depression was observed to be associated with an increased risk of child stunting (1.87 (95% CI: 1.52, 2.30; I2 = 41.6%, p = 0.064)) and underweight (1.81 (95% Cl: 1.25, 2.62; I2 = 70.7%, p = 0.001)). These results were confirmed after influence analyses, with publication bias being negligible. Conclusion: Maternal depression is a risk factor for poor child growth in LMICs. This study contributes to the knowledge on this topic and calls on policymakers to improve on its understanding, screening and treatment to alleviate the potential negative impact on child growth.What is Known:• Maternal postpartum depression is currently a public health relevance in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).• Maternal postpartum depression is a risk factor for poor nutritional status in children from LMICs.What is New:• Maternal postpartum depression is associated with an 80 to 90% increased risk of childhood stunting and underweight in LMICs.• The association between risk of childhood stunting and underweight with maternal postpartum depression is slightly influenced by geographical area, rural or urban location, by factors such as study design, study quality and sample size.
Maternal postpartum depression in relation to child undernutrition in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis / Asare, H.; Rosi, A.; Scazzina, F.; Faber, M.; Smuts, C. M.; Ricci, C.. - In: EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS. - ISSN 0340-6199. - (2021). [10.1007/s00431-021-04289-4]
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