Depression during pregnancy linked to gestational diabetes

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New research reveals that there may be a link between depression and gestational diabetes.

A study, published online in Diabetologia, was conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. In it, pregnancy records showed that women who reported feeling depressed during their first two trimesters of pregnancy were twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes.

A separate examination found that women who developed gestational diabetes were more likely to suffer from postpartum depression. All data was extracted from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Fetal Growth Studies-Singleton Cohort records.

“Our data suggest that depression and gestational diabetes may occur together,” said the study’s lead author, Stefanie Hinkle, PhD, a staff scientist in the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD. “Until we learn more, physicians may want to consider observing pregnant women with depressive symptoms for signs of gestational diabetes. They also may want to monitor women who have had gestational diabetes for signs of postpartum depression.”

Other findings surfaced from the study, too. Obesity is a known cause to increase someone’s risk of developing gestational diabetes, but the study found that when both obese and non-obese parties reported depression, non-obese women had a higher chance of developing gestational diabetes. And non-obese women who reported high levels of depression had nearly triple the risk for gestational diabetes than other women in the study, while the risk for developing depression did not increase in obese women.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists currently recommends that physicians screen patients for depression once during the perinatal period, but the findings of this study could urge physicians to increase screenings as a way to avoid the associated risks.