Preventing infant and child morbidity and mortality due to maternal depression

Pamela J. Surkan, Shivani A. Patel, Atif Rahman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This review provides an overview of perinatal depression and its impacts on the health of mothers, their newborns, and young children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We define and describe the urgency and scope of the problem of perinatal depression for mothers, while highlighting some specific issues such as suicidal ideation and decreased likelihood to seek health care. Pathways through which stress may link maternal depression to childhood growth and development (e.g., the hypo-pituitary axis) are discussed, followed by a summary of the adverse effects of depression on birth outcomes, parenting practices, and child growth and development. Although preliminary studies on the association between maternal depressive symptoms and maternal and child mortality exist, more research on these topics is needed. We describe the available interventions and suggest strategies to reduce maternal depressive symptoms in LMICs, including integration of services with existing primary health-care systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-168
Number of pages13
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • anxiety
  • child
  • depression
  • developing countries
  • mental health
  • mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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