Maternal mental health and infant and young child undernutrition: protocol for a systematic review

Manisha Singh, Tomasina Stacey, Julie Abayomi, Padam Simkhada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Mental health disorder, particularly depression, is one of the leading causes of 'disease related disability' in women that both affects the women but has adverse effect on their children. This can have an impact on mothers' capacity of child care which ultimately increases the risk of infection, malnutrition, impaired growth and behavioural problems in children that might extend to adulthood too. Diminished child growth has an irreversible effect both short and long terms, affecting physical growth, brain development, performance in education, working capacity and increased risks to non-communicable diseases. To date, the reviews conducted are only limited to few countries or maternal depression or certain age group of children. Our aim is to provide a global perspective focusing on all early childhood undernutrition (under 5 years) and to see if the association between maternal mental health and child undernutrition has yielded similar or different result. Furthermore, we intend to explore the risk factors associated with copresence of maternal mental health issues and undernutrition in children.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: MEDLINE (PubMed), PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Global Health Library Relevant reports from the WHO, United Nations of Children Education Fund and organisations working in maternal and child health will also be searched. Database of systematic reviews and database of abstracts of reviews of effects will also be searched for relevant literature. Papers published from 1995 to 2020 in English will be included. Title, abstract or both will be screened independently by reviewers. For data analysis and synthesis, we will present all the outcomes mentioned in the studies and a subgroup analysis for age and sex will be conducted. This study aims to conduct a meta-analysis.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval is not required to conduct this review.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere044989
Number of pages6
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
Early online date13 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2021


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