Diabetes May Increase Risk for Perinatal Depression

Prenatal, gestational diabetes nearly double risk for depression during or after pregnancy
By Lisa Cockrell, PhD
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women who develop diabetes either prior to or during pregnancy are more likely to experience perinatal depression, including postpartum depression, researchers report in the Feb. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Katy Backes Kozhimannil, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues retrospectively assessed a cohort of 11,024 women who gave birth between 2004 and 2006. All women were also enrolled in Medicaid from six months prior to one year after delivery.

Of the entire sample population, women who had either prepregnancy or gestational diabetes were nearly twice as likely to have depression either during pregnancy or postpartum compared with women having no diabetes (15.2 percent versus 8.5 percent), the investigators found. This increased risk (1.85-fold) was apparent even after adjusting for age, race, delivery year or gestational age at birth, the report indicates. Even women with no prenatal indication of depression were 1.69-fold more likely to experience postpartum depression or take antidepressant medication if they had diabetes, the researchers note.

"To our knowledge, our study is the first to present data on the association between diabetes and depression during the perinatal period," the authors write. "Treatable, perinatal depression is underdiagnosed, and it is important to target detection and support efforts toward women at high risk."

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