Objective: To systematically review the evidence for an association between maternal depression and the risk of diarrheal illness in infants.
Study design: This study is a meta-analysis.
Methods: Nine databases were searched systematically for studies that investigated the risk of diarrheal illness in infants born to mothers with depression.
Results: Our search strategy yielded 10 studies of the association between maternal depression and the risk of diarrheal illness in infants: eight studies of postnatal depression, two studies of antenatal depression, and one study of perinatal depression. Our meta-analysis showed that infants born to mothers with postnatal depression were more likely to develop diarrheal illness (odds ratio [OR] = 1.902, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 1.385-2.612, P < 0.001, n = 18,585). A similar trend was noted for antenatal depression (OR = 2.703, 95% CI = 0.920-7.942, P = 0.071, n = 583). Only one study reported an association between perinatal depression and risk of diarrhea in infants (OR = 1.848, log OR = 0.614, standard error = 0.093, n = 107,587).
Conclusions: Only a few studies so far have identified an association between maternal depression and risk of diarrhea in infants. The evidence available to date suggests that infants born to mothers with depression are more likely to develop diarrhea than infants whose mothers do not have depression.
Keywords: Depression; Diarrhea; Infant; Meta-analysis; Systematic review.
Copyright © 2018 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.