Background: Postpartum depression has negative effects on mother, child and family. Regarding the side effects of antidepressants and because of contradictory results on the effects of herbal medicines, the present meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of herbal medicines in treatment of postpartum depression and maternal-infant attachment.
Materials and Methods: An extensive search was done in databases of Medline, EMBASE, Scopus, Cochrane, and Web of Science in English databases as well as IranDoc, Magiran, Medlib and SID, in Persian databases with no time limitations until November 2018. Two independent researchers screened articles, in the next step, full texts of probably relevant articles were summarized and categorized based on the evaluated outcomes and overall effect size was presented.
Results: The meta-analysis of five trials showed score of depression was lower in herbal medicines group compared to placebo (Standardized Mean Difference [SMD= -0.648], 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.849 to -0.446). Heterogeneity was non-significant (I2=0%, p=0.476). Meta-analysis of compounds containing lavender decreased score of depression significantly compared to control group. Heterogeneity was non-significant (SMD=-0.629, 95%CI: -0.847 to -0.411, I2=9.8%, p=0.34). The lavender meta-analysis of three studies showed a significant effect in comparison to control group (SMD=-0.570, 95%CI: -0.799 to -0.341; I2=9.8%, p=0.34). The aromatherapy meta-analysis showed that aromatherapy with or without massage could lead to a significant decrease in score of depression compared to control group (SMD= -0.637, 95%CI: -0.924 to -0.333; I2=66%, p=0.084). Some herbal medicines showed a significant effect on maternal-infant attachment and feelings toward baby scale.
Conclusion: Herbal medicines can be considered as an alternative option in treatment of postpartum depression. Also, maternal-infant attachment and feelings toward baby scale were affected by herbal medicines.