Vitamin D deficiency and depressive symptoms in the perinatal period
Depression affects 1 in 7 women during the perinatal period. Women with vitamin D deficiency may be at an increased risk for depression. This study investigated the relationship between maternal and cord blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) and maternal depressive symptoms over the perinatal period. Study objectives were to examine variations and relationships between maternal and cord blood vitamin D levels and maternal depressive symptoms over the perinatal period. At a large medical center in southern California, pregnant women (N = 126) were recruited for this longitudinal cohort study. Depressive symptoms (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen, EPDS) and vitamin D status (25OHD) were measured at three time points in the perinatal period: time 1 (T1; N = 125) EPDS and 25OHD were collected in early pregnancy; time 2 (T2; N = 96) EPDS was conducted in the third trimester with blood collected at time of delivery; and time 3 (T3; N = 88) was collected postpartum. A significant inverse relationship between vitamin D status and depressive symptoms was observed between 25OHD and EPDS scores at all time points in this sample (T1 = − 0.18, P = 0.024; T2 = − 0.27, P = 0.009; T3 = − 0.22, P = 0.019). This association remained after controlling for confounders. Low cord blood 25OHD levels were inversely associated with higher EPDS scores in the third trimester (r = − 0.22, P = 0.02). Clinicians may want to consider screening women diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency for depression and vice versa. Vitamin D may represent an important biomarker for pregnant and postpartum women diagnosed with depression. Further studies examining underlying mechanisms and supplementation are needed.
KeywordsDepression Vitamin D 25OHD Maternal mental health Pregnancy and postpartum complications
Great thanks to all the women and infants who consented to participating in this trial. The authors would also like to thank Steven Ropers, M.D., and Quy Tran, M.D., for their help in abstracting the electronic medical records and David Shifrin, Ph.D., for his assistance with manuscript preparation and editing. No payment was given for their assistance.
This project was supported by UL1 TR000445 from NCATS/NIH and a CTSA award No. UL1TR000445 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The funding source was not involved in the study. Additional support came from the Miriam Jacobs Endowed Chair, Maternal Fetal Medicine, held by Dr. Hobel.
Compliance with ethical standards
Statement of human rights
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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