Perinatal depression is an important public health problem affecting 10% to 20% of childbearing women. Perinatal depression is associated with significant morbidity, and has enormous consequences for the wellbeing of the mother and child. During the perinatal period, treatment of depression, which could affect the mother and child during pregnancy and lactation, poses a complex problem for both mother and clinician. Bright light therapy may be an attractive treatment for perinatal depression because it is low cost, home-based, and has a much lower side effect profile than pharmacotherapy. The antidepressant effects of bright light are well established, and there are several rationales for expecting that bright light might also be efficacious for perinatal depression. This review describes these rationales, summarizes the available evidence on the efficacy of bright light therapy for perinatal depression, and discusses future directions for investigation of bright light therapy as a treatment for perinatal depression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Physiology (medical)