Low maternal serum vitamin D during pregnancy and the risk for postpartum depression symptoms
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- Robinson, M., Whitehouse, A.J.O., Newnham, J.P. et al. Arch Womens Ment Health (2014) 17: 213. doi:10.1007/s00737-014-0422-y
Pregnancy is a time of vulnerability for vitamin D insufficiency, and there is an emerging literature associating low levels of 25(OH)-vitamin D with depressive symptoms. However, the link between 25(OH)-vitamin D status in pregnancy and altered risk of postnatal depressive symptoms has not been examined. We hypothesise that low levels of 25(OH)-vitamin D in maternal serum during pregnancy will be associated with a higher incidence of postpartum depressive symptoms. We prospectively collected sera at 18 weeks gestation from 796 pregnant women in Perth (1989–1992) who were enrolled in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study and measured levels of 25(OH)-vitamin D. Women reported postnatal depressive symptoms at 3 days post-delivery. Women in the lowest quartile for 25(OH)-vitamin D status were more likely to report a higher level of postnatal depression symptoms than women who were in the highest quartile for vitamin D, even after accounting for a range of confounding variables including season of birth, body mass index and sociodemographic factors. Low vitamin D during pregnancy is a risk factor for the development of postpartum depression symptoms.