Association between vitamin D deficiency and antepartum and postpartum depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2018 Dec;298(6):1045-1059. doi: 10.1007/s00404-018-4902-6. Epub 2018 Sep 27.


Purpose: The two previous reviews performed on the association of vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy with antepartum and postpartum depression were limited in reporting forms as they were both systematic reviews and the conclusions were also deemed to be inconclusive. Considering the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and depression during and after pregnancy as well as their numerous hazards to pregnancy outcomes, it is of great need to synthesize existing evidence in a more accurate statistical method, so that reliable guidance related to vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy could be provided for clinical decision making.

Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the association of vitamin D deficiency with antepartum and postpartum depression.

Results: Nine longitudinal studies with 8470 participants were included in the meta-analysis. We found serum 25(OH)D levels < 50 nmol/l was associated with 2.67 times (OR 3.67; 95% CI 1.72-7.85) increased risk of postpartum depression than those 25(OH)D levels ≥ 50 nmol/l, but we did not find a significant association between low vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms during pregnancy with a serum 25(OH)D cut-off level of 30 nmol/l (OR 1.47; 95% CI 0.92-2.36).

Conclusions: The low status of maternal vitamin D could be an adverse factor for postpartum depression, but the available evidence suggested no association between vitamin D deficiency and depressive symptoms during pregnancy. However, this result should be interpreted with caution owning to the small number of studies. Well-designed intervention studies are also needed to further evaluate the benefits of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy.

Keywords: Antepartum depression; Longitudinal study; Meta-analysis; Postpartum depression; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiotocography / psychology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / etiology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / pathology
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*