The impact of maternal prenatal mental health disorders on stillbirth and infant mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Akilew A. Adane, Helen D. Bailey, Vera A. Morgan, Megan Galbally, Brad M. Farrant, Rhonda Marriott, Scott W. White, Carrington Cj Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Evidence about the association between maternal mental health disorders and stillbirth and infant mortality is limited and conflicting. We aimed to examine whether maternal prenatal mental health disorders are associated with stillbirth and/or infant mortality. MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, and Scopus were searched for studies examining the association of any maternal prenatal (occurring before or during pregnancy) mental health disorder(s) and stillbirth or infant mortality. A random-effects meta-analysis was used to calculate pooled odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The between-study heterogeneity was quantified using the I2 statistic. Subgroup analyses were performed to identify the source of heterogeneity. Of 4487 records identified, 28 met our inclusion criteria with 27 contributing to the meta-analyses. Over 60% of studies examined stillbirth and 54% of them evaluated neonatal or infant mortality. Thirteen studies investigated the association between maternal depression and anxiety and stillbirth/infant mortality, pooled OR, 1.42 (95% CI, 1.16–1.73; I2, 76.7%). Another 13 studies evaluated the association between severe maternal mental illness and stillbirth/infant mortality, pooled OR, 1.47 (95% CI, 1.28–1.68; I2, 62.3%). We found similar results for the association of any maternal mental health disorders and stillbirth/infant mortality (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.43–1.77) and in subgroup analyses according to types of fetal/infant mortality. We found no significant evidence of publication bias. Maternal prenatal mental health disorders appear to be associated with a moderate increase in the risk of stillbirth and infant mortality, although the mechanisms are unclear. Efforts to prevent and treat these disorders may reduce the scale of stillbirth/infant deaths.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jan 2021

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