Interventions to treat and prevent postpartum depression: a protocol for systematic review of the literature and parallel network meta-analyses

David Thomas Monks, Basavaraj Ankalagi, Preet Mohinder Singh, Ebony Carter, Michelle Doering, Meg Guard, Shannon Lenze

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Postpartum depression has costly consequences for the mother, baby, and society. Numerous pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions are available for the prevention and treatment of postpartum depression. To date, no attempt has been made to synthesize the evidence from comparisons of interventions both within and across these categories. Methods: We will perform a systematic review of the literature and perform network meta-analysis of interventions to (a) prevent and (b) treat postpartum depression. This review will include studies of primiparous or multiparous women during pregnancy or within 12 months of delivery of their baby that assess either interventions initiated during pregnancy or within 1 year of childbirth. Comparators will be other eligible interventions or control conditions. The outcome of interests will be related to the antidepressant efficacy of the interventions as well as their acceptability. The published literature will be searched in Ovid MEDLINE 1946-, 1947-, Scopus 1823-, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and The search will use a combination of standardized terms and keywords for postpartum depression, a sensitive search filter to limit for randomized controlled trials, and a librarian-created “humans” filter. The search results will be uploaded to the Covidence online systematic review platform (Veritas Health Information Ltd., Victoria, Australia) where two review team members will independently screen articles. We will extract data to include year of publication, language, country, participants (number, demographic data, eligibility criteria, psychiatric symptoms, and co-morbidities), characteristics of the intervention and control conditions, and reported outcomes. Risk of bias for each study will be assessed independently by two review authors using the RoB 2: A revised Cochrane risk of bias tool for randomized trials. Network meta-analysis will be performed using a Bayesian hierarchical model supplemented with a Markov chain Monte Carlo approach. Discussion: Postpartum depression is a devastating disease with long-lasting consequences. Given the numerous available interventions to both prevent and treat postpartum depression and the great number of studies comparing them, it is imperative that clinicians and patients are provided with an assessment of their comparative efficacy and acceptability. Systematic review registration: Prospero registration (CRD42022303247).

Original languageEnglish
Article number282
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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