Journal of Food and Nutrition Research
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Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2022, 10(2), 123-143
DOI: 10.12691/jfnr-10-2-6
Open AccessLiterature Review

Dietary Factors in the Prevention and Management of Postpartum Depression: A Literature Review

Dingming Jiang1,

1The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China

Pub. Date: January 23, 2022

Cite this paper:
Dingming Jiang. Dietary Factors in the Prevention and Management of Postpartum Depression: A Literature Review. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2022; 10(2):123-143. doi: 10.12691/jfnr-10-2-6


Background: The prevalence of postpartum depression (PPD) in women has become a major global mental health concern, thus how to conduct effective and safe intervention based on the pathogenesis of PPD has become an important research topic. Discussion: In this literature review, the aim was to identify the role of prenatal and postpartum healthy dietary factors in the management of PPD. Several dietary patterns, food groups, and nutrients (from food sources or supplements) that can be beneficial for PPD (or depression) were all discussed. Besides, dietary recommendations that may be effective in reducing the incidence of PPD were further summarized based on a review of the relevant literature (from the conclusion, the level of evidence of study design, the sample size, and the risk of bias) and dietary guidelines. Conclusion: Several existing healthy eating patterns (including some specific foods) and nutrient supplements for pregnant women and postpartum mothers are potentially effective means of managing the occurrence and symptoms of PPD through their nutritional contents (i.e., the possible mechanisms of those nutrients, such as anti-inflammatory action). Although some of the studies reviewed in this paper have had inconsistent results regarding the effects of certain nutrients and foods on PPD, considering that diet management of PPD is a more acceptable and feasible intervention for women during pregnancy and postpartum, more longitudinal studies are needed to further demonstrate the effectiveness of these diet-based interventions and to develop optimal dietary content-matching strategies for preventing and relieving PPD.

postpartum depression pregnancy dietary pattern nutrient food group

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