BACKGROUND: Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common postpartum psychiatric disorder, affecting 11-15% of new mothers, and initiatives towards early identification and treatment are essential due to detrimental consequences. Family history of psychiatric disorders is a risk factor for developing psychiatric episodes outside the postpartum period, but evidence of the association between familial risk and PPD is not clear. Hence, the objective of this systematic review is to summarize the current literature on the association between family history of psychiatric disorders and PPD.
METHODS: This protocol has been developed and reported according to the PRISMA-P guidelines for systematic reviews. A comprehensive literature search will be conducted in PubMed, Embase, and PsycINFO from inception of the databases, supplemented with citation tracking and reference screening of the included studies. Two independent authors will examine all retrieved articles for inclusion in two steps: title/abstract screening and full-text screening. Eligible studies are case-control and cohort studies reporting a risk estimate for the association between family history of psychiatric disorders and PPD. Studies will be assessed for risk of bias using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. The association between family psychiatry and PPD will be combined in a meta-analysis using a restricted maximum likelihood method (REML). Heterogeneity will be quantified using I2 and investigated through meta-regression, subgroup and sensitivity analyses, and publication bias will be evaluated via visual inspection of a funnel plot. The overall strength and quality of the findings will be evaluated using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) approach. If meta-analysis is not possible, data will be synthesized narratively in text and tables.
DISCUSSION: This systematic review will be the first to summarize current knowledge and present an overall estimate for the association between family history of psychiatric disorders and PPD. Evaluation of psychiatric family history as a PPD risk factor is essential to assist early identification of women at high risk of PPD in routine perinatal care.
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: PROSPERO ID: 277998 (registered 10th of September 2021).