Maternal mental health in pregnancy and child behavior

Indian J Psychiatry. 2011 Oct;53(4):351-61. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.91911.


Maternal mental health research is a public health priority due to its impact on both maternal and child health. Despite the growing number of empirical studies in this area, particularly from developing countries, there is a paucity of synthetic review articles. Therefore, attempting to synthesize the existing literature in this area seems relevant to appraise the readers of the field's progress and to infer directions for future research. The present review aims to provide an overview of the literature on maternal mental health and its association with birth outcomes and child behavior. Specifically, the literature on mental health during pregnancy and in the postpartum period and its influence on birth outcomes and child behavior have been reviewed. Further, a conceptual and methodological evaluation of the existing literature has been provided to identify gaps in the literature and to suggest directions for future research.

Keywords: Antenatal depression; birth outcomes; child emotional-behavior problems; mental health; postnatal depression.