Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Public Health

Advisor/Committee Chair

Erin Bell


This systematic review examined the association between maternal pre-pregnancy obesity and perinatal depression, and the joint effect of these conditions with child neurodevelopment. PubMed was systematically searched for studies published between January 2018-December 2023. Studies were screened and included if they were cohort studies and human studies in English. Of the 41 studies identified examining maternal perinatal depression and 45 studies identified examining maternal pre-pregnancy obesity, 12 and 9 studies were included in this systematic review, respectively. No studies were identified examining the joint association of these factors with child neurodevelopment. Overall, the studies showed an inverse association between maternal perinatal depression and child neurodevelopment with slight variation depending on the period of measurement. Maternal prenatal depression observed a larger negative impact on child neurodevelopment scores compared to postpartum depression, especially in social-emotional development outcomes. Most studies showed an inverse association between pre-pregnancy obesity and child neurodevelopment; however, three studies showed no association. These findings suggest that children who have mothers with perinatal depression in the period from one year before up until 24 months after birth and children with mothers who had pre-pregnancy obesity are at higher risk for adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. These findings highlight the need for interventions to improve maternal mental health along with healthy lifestyle interventions before and during pregnancy. These findings also indicate more research needs to be done in looking at the joint effect of these conditions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

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