An exploratory study of postpartum depression and vitamin d

J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc. 2010 May;16(3):170-7. doi: 10.1177/1078390310370476.


Background: Low levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D), a reliable measurement of vitamin D, have been implicated in several mood disorders. To date, studies exploring the relationship between vitamin D and postpartum depression are absent from the literature.

Objectives: To determine whether a relationship exists between symptoms associated with postpartum depression and vitamin D levels and to determine if serum 25(OH) D levels can predict the incidence of symptoms associated with postpartum depression.

Study design: An exploratory, descriptive study using a convenience sample of 97 postpartum women attending seven monthly visits. Women provided serum 25(OH)D samples and completed the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) at each visit.

Results: A significant relationship over time was found between low 25(OH)D levels and high EPDS scores, indicative of postpartum depression.

Conclusions: Future rigorous studies investigating vitamin D and postpartum depression are warranted with larger sample sizes using confirmatory methods to diagnose postpartum depression.