The birth experience and women's postnatal depression: A systematic review

Aleeca F. Bell, Ewa Andersson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: maternal postnatal depression confers strong risk for impaired child development. Little is known about the association between women's postnatal birth experience and postnatal depression. Purpose: to systematically identify and review studies examining the association between the birth experience and postnatal depression. Methods: a systematic search strategy was employed using the Matrix Method (Garrard, 2014) and guided by the PRISMA reporting process.Criteria included broad search terms, English language, and publication years 2000-2015. The search revealed 1536 abstracts narrowed to full-text review of 112 studies. Findings: eleven of the 15 studies meeting search criteria demonstrated a significant association between women's postnatal birth experience and postnatal depression. Results show heterogeneity in birth experience instruments. Strength of evidence and potential for bias are discussed. Key conclusions: in spite of methodological limitations, the weight of evidence suggests that a negative birth experience may contribute to postnatal depression. Further research is warranted. Implications for practice: to promote a positive birth experience healthcare providers should provide supportive, nurturing care that promotes women's confidence, trust, respect, privacy, shared decision making, and feeling of safety. Healthcare policy that promotes quality caregiving may reduce risk of postnatal depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalMidwifery
Volume39
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Birth experience
  • Birth satisfaction
  • Depression
  • Postnatal
  • Postpartum
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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