1. In this study, mothers with a positive family history of psychiatric disorders had an increased risk of developing postpartum depression (PPD) compared to mothers without this history.

2. Furthermore, there was no significant difference between PPD assessed at various weeks postpartum.

Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)

PPD is not only a highly prevalent condition in the general population, but also preventable and treatable which makes its early identification important. Interestingly, family history of psychiatric disorders was inconsistently identified as a risk factor for PPD in several reviews focused on all PPD risk factors. As a result, the objective of the present systematic review and meta-analysis was to summarize the current literature on the association between family history of psychiatric disorders and PPD. The secondary objective was to determine if this association was modified by different assessment points and definitions of family history of psychiatric disorders and PPD.

Of 4239 identified records, 26 were included in the review from database inception to March 31st, 2022. Studies were eligible if they investigated family history of psychiatric disorders as a risk factor for PPD within 12 months. Risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. Data analysis was performed using a random-effects model. Quality of evidence was done based on the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE).

Results demonstrated that mothers with a positive family history of psychiatric disorders had an increased risk of developing postpartum depression (PPD) compared to mothers without this history. Furthermore, there was no significant difference between PPD assessed at various weeks postpartum. Additionally, the odds for the association increased when family history was self-reported. Despite these findings, the present study was limited by the different phrasing of family history across most of the included studies. Nonetheless, the inclusion of studies from a wide range of countries highlights the possibility of including this family history in routine care to prevent PPD as well as its consequences on the mother.

Click to read the study in JAMA Psychiatry

Image: PD

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