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Prevalence of depression during pregnancy and postpartum periods in low-income women in developed countries



To conduct a systematic review of studies reporting prevalence rates of depression in women living in low-income in developed countries during the pregnancy and postpartum periods.

Subject and methods

Published and unpublished literature was searched for studies reporting prevalence of depression in women with low-income in developed countries. A subsection of studies taking place during pregnancy and postpartum periods was used for analysis. Using meta and metafor packages in R, a random-effects model to account for estimation was used.


Sixty-four studies, involving 218,035 participants, were located through the search process. Among low-income women who were pregnant or postpartum, the prevalence of depression was 33.82%.


High rates of depression among women living in low-income conditions is of serious public health concern due to generational effects, with several possible adverse biological, psychological, and social effects on children. Women’s social determinants of health need to be addressed, as these contribute to both depression and recovery.

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Availability of data and material

Data are available from the primary researcher upon request.

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Grateful acknowledgment to Greer Bizzell-Hatcher and Siyuan Zhao for their assistance with this project.

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Authors and Affiliations



Jacqueline Corcoran, Ph.D.: Conceptual framework, data collection, writing.

Ioana Marinescu, Ph.D.: Data analysis and writing.

Claudia Vogelsang, MSW and Jessica Cho Kim, MSW: Data collection and cleaning.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Claudia Vogelsang.

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Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to report.

Human rights

This study involves secondary analysis of primary studies; therefore, no work was performed with human subjects, and IRB approval was not necessary. All studies included were approved by an ethical board before publication, with original authors responsible for the protection of their data.

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Corcoran, J., Marinescu, I., Vogelsang, C. et al. Prevalence of depression during pregnancy and postpartum periods in low-income women in developed countries. J Public Health (Berl.) 30, 2473–2482 (2022).

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  • Depression
  • Postpartum depression
  • Prevalence
  • Low-income
  • Poverty