Postpartum depression (PPD) is a prevalent mood disorder estimated to affect 20%-40% of women worldwide after childbirth. In recent studies, the effect of vitamin D on prevention of mood disorders and depression has been investigated, but it is still unclear how vitamin D may affect PPD. The evidence on the relevance between vitamin D deficiency and PPD is inconsistent, and assessment of the recent literature has not previously been carried out. Moreover, there are few clinical studies on PPD and vitamin D supplementation. Five studies have so far assessed the relationship between the levels of vitamin D and PPD. Findings from cohort studies suggest that vitamin-D deficiency is related to the incidence of PPD and vitamin D may play a significant role in the recovery of women with PPD, but it is uncertain whether these actions are the effect of vitamin D on the function of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the levels of estradiol, serotonin, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and/or of other mechanisms involved in PPD.
Keywords: Depression; Postpartum Period; Pregnancy; Review; Vitamin D.