The Association Between Anemia and Postpartum Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Caspian J Intern Med. Spring 2019;10(2):115-124. doi: 10.22088/cjim.10.2.115.


Background: The association between anemia and postpartum depression (PPD) has been reported to be controversial in different studies. Therefore, this study aimed to provide a comprehensive assessment of anemia and PPD.

Methods: This review study was conducted according to the MOOSE protocol and results have been reported according to the PRISMA guideline. We searched epidemiologic studies published until January 2018 in nine English databases including Scopus, PubMed/Medline, Science Direct, Embase, Web of Science, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EBSCO and Google Scholar using English MeSH keywords. The heterogeneity of the studies was assessed using the Cochran's Q test and I2 index. Data were analyzed using a random effects model and comprehensive meta-analysis (CMA) software version 2.

Results: In the 10 studies, the association between postpartum anemia and PPD was significant (heterogeneity test: P<0.001, I2=74.62%), and RR=1.887 (95%CI: 1.255-2.838, P=0.002). In 8 studies, anemia during pregnancy significantly increased the risk of postpartum depression (heterogeneity test: P=0.116, I2=36.422%), RR=1.240 (1.001-1.536, P=0.048). The subgroup analysis of postpartum anemia and PPD was not significant for the variables of quality of studies, study design, and the period of evaluating depression and anemia. The subgroup analysis of anemia during pregnancy and PPD was not significant for the period of evaluating depression. Publication bias did not affect the results of the studies.

Conclusion: Meta-analysis results showed anemia during pregnancy and after pregnancy that significantly increased the risk of postpartum depression. Therefore, prevention, identification and treatment of anemia in pregnant women seem necessary.

Keywords: Anemia; Meta-Analysis.; Postpartum Depression.

Publication types

  • Review