The Association Between Ante- and Postnatal Depressive Symptoms and Obesity in Both Mother and Child: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Jeannette Milgrom, Helen Skouteris, Tamara Worotniuk, Adele Henwood, Lauren Bruce

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44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: The aim of this paper was to review the literature reporting on the relationship between ante- and postnatal maternal depressive symptoms and both maternal and childhood obesity. Method: Articles were sourced from Medline, PsychInfo, Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition, Academic Search Premiere, and CINAHL. The search was limited to English papers published between January 2000 and June 2011 with key search terms including a combination of maternal, ante- and postnatal depression, obesity, and child. After screening, this resulted in 14 articles, 9 that addressed maternal depressive symptoms and maternal obesity and 5 that focused on maternal depressive symptoms and childhood obesity. GRADE guidelines were used to assess the quality of evidence on two outcomes: Maternal overweight/obesity (body mass index [BMI]) and childhood overweight/obesity (BMI). Results: Nine studies examined the association between postnatal depressive symptoms and maternal obesity; three were cross-sectional and six were longitudinal. None of the cross-sectional studies that examined the association between postnatal depressive symptoms and maternal obesity (BMI) reported a significant positive association. In contrast, of the six studies that used a longitudinal design, three found an association between depressive symptoms and maternal BMI. Five studies were found examining ante- and postnatal depressive symptoms and childhood obesity, four longitudinal and one cross-sectional. Three found a positive association-the cross-sectional study and two longitudinal studies. The quality of the evidence for the two outcomes-maternal and childhood obesity-was low. Conclusion: Research addressing perinatal maternal depressive symptoms and maternal obesity, as well as research addressing perinatal maternal depressive symptoms and childhood obesity, is limited, is of low quality as a body of evidence, and thus far findings have been inconclusive. Further longitudinal and prospective research, incorporating objective measures of BMI and validated measures of depression, is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012
Externally publishedYes

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