Do psychosocial interventions have an impact on maternal perception of perinatal depression?

Amanda Firth, Melanie Haith-Cooper, Dominic Egan

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Poor perinatal mental health, in particular depression, affects at least 10% of new mothers in the UK. Current best practice recommends the use of talking therapies or medication; however, many women choose not to use medication or are deterred from accessing NHS services. Those who can access NHS treatment often face a long waiting list to see a clinician or therapist. Untreated perinatal depression has an impact on the health and wellbeing of women and babies, so it is essential to consider alternative psychosocial interventions delivered by non-clinicians. Aims: This review aims to explore the effects of psychosocial interventions on maternal perception of perinatal depression. Methods: A systematic review was conducted on seven quantitative studies examining the effect of psychosocial interventions in reducing maternal symptoms of depression. Interventions focused either on physical activity or peer support, measuring depression scores with a validated screening tool. Findings: The seven reviewed studies considered either physical activity or peer support-based interventions. There is some evidence that antenatal group peer support may benefit women in the antenatal period and that postnatal peer telephone support may be helpful for primiparous women. Conclusions: Further large-scale research is required to ascertain the effectiveness of a range of interventions in improving maternal perception of perinatal depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)855-866
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number12
Early online date30 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


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