Gestational Diabetes Raises Likelihood Of Postpartum Depression

The risk of postpartum depression (PPD) in first-time mothers is greater for those with gestational diabetes, according to researchers at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, and the Karolinska Institute.

The investigators also found that having a history of depression increased a woman’s likelihood of PPD by 20 times or greater, when compared to mothers with no prior diagnosis of depression. Further, while gestational diabetes alone raised PPD risk, a combination of gestational diabetes and depression history increased the chances of PPD even more.

Lead study author Michael E. Silverman, Ph.D., points out that most medical practitioners consider gestational diabetes and PPD to be isolated conditions, but research is showing they must be considered together. “While having diabetes increases PPD risk for all women, for those women who have had a past depressive episode, having diabetes during pregnancy makes it 70 percent more likely that they will develop PPD,” said Silverman.

Risk factors for PPD other than gestational diabetes were examined by the researchers, as well. They found in women without a history of depression that young age, a moderate preterm delivery, and instrument-assisted or cesarean deliveries increased the likelihood of PPD. Having pre-gestational diabetes, and a mild preterm delivery increased PPD risk in women with a depression history.

Because PPD can lead to negative family and child developmental outcomes, establishing that a depression history is a PPD risk factor will help medical providers intervene earlier. “The reason a doctor asks if you smoke is because they know you are 20 times more likely to get cancer if you do. We believe OB/GYNs should now do the same for depression history,” says Silverman.

The study, published online in the Depression and Anxiety journal, analyzed information from 700,000 women listed in the Swedish Medical Birth Register, which details all births in Sweden.

Source: Science Daily

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