Depression During Pregnancy Linked to Gestational Diabetes

Depression during and after pregnancy may be linked to gestational diabetes, a new government study found.

Women in the study who reported feeling depressed early in pregnancy were more likely to develop gestational diabetes later in pregnancy compared with those who did not report depression early in pregnancy, according to the study, from researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The findings suggest that “depression and gestational diabetes may occur together,” Stefanie Hinkle, a population health researcher at the NICHD and the lead author of the study, said in a statement

In addition, the researchers found that having gestational diabetes may increase women’s risk for developing depression after pregnancy: Women in the study who had gestational diabetes were more likely to develop postpartum depression compared with those who did not have gestational diabetes, according to the study.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. When a person has diabetes, the body cannot properly control blood -sugar levels. During pregnancy, diabetes can put both the mother and the baby at risk; women can develop a high blood-pressure condition called preeclampsia, which can become life-threatening, and babies can grow too large within the uterus, which can make birth difficult.

In the U.S., 9.2 percent of women develop gestational diabetes, and postpartum depression affects 10 to 15 percent of mothers within a year of giving birth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the study, the researchers looked at data from about 2,800 women who were enrolled in the NICHD Fetal Growth Studies-Singleton Cohort, a long-term study that tracked women’s health and the health of their babies, during and after pregnancy.

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