A Systematic Review and Exploration of Smartphone App Interventions for Perinatal Depression With Case Study

Margaret Emerson, Sarah Perret, Halie Chinn, Noy Alon, Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway, David J. Johnson, Danae Dinkel, John Torous

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review: In this review, we aim to summarize the availability and features of smartphone apps in both the commercial marketplace and academic literature for perinatal depression with the goal of informing patients and clinicians along with giving clinical recommendations related to the integration of mobile apps into perinatal care. Recent findings: There are few apps targeted towards perinatal depression, and of those that exist, most lack evidence and a robust privacy policy. Recent reviews have also highlighted the dearth of quality apps for perinatal mental health care. Summary: Using keywords, searches of the academic literature and Android and Apple App Stores were conducted to identify perinatal depression apps. Notably, there were only six apps included from the app stores, and 18 publications were included from academic literature. Of the commercially available apps, most had concerning privacy policies and contained a paywall to access its features. The academic literature results had small sample sizes and heterogenous outcomes. Additionally, there was a disconnect between the academic apps and those found in app stores; only five of the apps in the academic literature were available commercially yet only one was found in the initial commercial app search. Due to these results, we present a case study of an alternate app, mindLAMP, to illustrate how to incorporate a mobile app into perinatal mental health care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-166
Number of pages31
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Digital mental health
  • Perinatal depression
  • mHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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