How are Micronutrient Deficiencies Associated with Outcomes of Postpartum Anxiety and Depression in Women?
Women who are pregnant or nursing have an increased risk of malnutrition as well as depression. The objective of this review of literature was to determine whether there was a direct correlation between the two diagnoses. Individuals with either antepartum or postpartum depression experience symptoms detrimental to the well-being of both themselves and their child. Common characteristics associated with this form of depression include lower levels of functioning in household care, financial instability leading to homelessness, and low birth weight for the infant due to lack of feeding. There is no exact panacea to maternal depression, however, research has found a potential link between diet and mental health. Certain neurotransmitters from the central nervous system like dopamine and glutamate play a role in digestive processes. Pregnant women experience a depletion of certain nutrients more rapidly than most individuals. These pregnancy-specific nutrients include but are not limited to folate, iron, zinc, and have shown to have a relationship with the regulation of mood. In conclusion, studies have shown a small yet promising correlation between neurological function and nutrient intake. However, an expansion of research on this topic is needed because most studies focused on the effects of overall diet quality on depression rather than specific nutrients. In addition, there has not yet been a cure confirmed for maternal depression.