Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Background: Most empirically researched interventions for postpartum depression (PPD) tend to target mothers' depression alone. Harmful effects of PPD on physical and mental health of both mother and child has led researchers to investigate the impact of interventions on PPD and child outcomes together. So far, the evidence is limited regarding how these interventions compare with those focusing only on mothers' depression. This review compares the effectiveness of PPD-improving interventions focusing only on mothers with those focusing on mother and child together.
Methods: Nine electronic databases were searched. Thirty-seven studies evaluating mother-focused (n = 30) and mother-child focused interventions (n = 7) were included. Under each category, three theoretical approaches-psychological, psychosocial and mixed-were compared using standardized qualitative procedures. The review's primary outcome was maternal PPD.
Results: A higher proportion of mother-focussed interventions [20/30 (66.7%)] brought significant reduction in PPD outcomes as compared to a lower proportion of mother-child focused interventions [4/7 (57.14%)]. Mother-focused mixed approaches [3/3 (100%)] performed better in improving PPD than psychological [16/24 (67%)] or psychosocial approaches [1/3 (33.3%)] alone. Amongst mother-child focused interventions, psychosocial approaches performed well with two-thirds demonstrating positive effects on PPD.
Conclusion: The evidence strongly favors mother-focused interventions for improving PPD with mixed interventions being more effective. Psychosocial approaches performed better with PPD once child-related elements were added, and also seemed best for child outcomes. Psychological approaches were most practiced and effective for PPD, irrespective of the intervention's focus. Further trials are needed to unpack intervention components that improve PPD and increase uptake, especially in lower-and middle-income countries.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

PloS One