Diabetes and Pregnancy: Links with Depression

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Diabetes and Pregnancy: Links with Depression




Host:  Medical University of South Carolina


Welcome to this month’s Diabetes Care newsletter.  Our topic is diabetes linked to depression during and after pregnancy.  Low income women with diabetes who are pregnant or who recently gave birth face almost twice the risk of depression compared to women without diabetes.


The study is reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  It didn’t matter whether the women developed diabetes before or during pregnancy, or if they were taking insulin or oral medications.  The risk of depression was still much stronger for them.  Study lead author Katie _____ says those women with diabetes have nearly twice the risk of depression during pregnancy and postpartum.  She adds that women who had never been depressed before appeared to be at risk too.


One in ten women who had no indication of prior depression received a diagnosis of depression within a year following delivery, says _____.  Although the study didn’t look at potential reasons for this link, there are biological changes that occur with diabetes that might increase the risk of depression.  Also, the stress of managing a chronic illness might contribute to the risk of depression. 


Postpartum depression affects about ten percent of new mothers usually between two and six months after giving birth.  If left untreated, postpartum depression can affect the mother-child relationship as well as the child’s development.  Risk factors for postpartum depression include:  a history of depression, troubled relationships, domestic violence, stressful life events, financial problems, lack of social or emotional support, a difficult pregnancy or delivery, and health problems with the baby. 


To assess whether or not diabetes is a factor in pre and postpartum depression, _____ reviewed data on more than 11,000 women who gave birth between 2004 and 2006.  All of the women were enrolled in Medicaid during the study period.  From this low-income population, the researchers found that 15 percent of women with diabetes developed depression during or after their pregnancy.  In women without diabetes, that number was nearly nine percent.  In women who had never been depressed before, almost ten percent of those with diabetes developed depression, compared to six percent without of those without the blood sugar condition.


_____ says healthcare facilities need to be acutely aware of depression in women with diabetes during the postpartum phase.  She stresses that diabetes and depression are both very treatable during this time.  Dr. Robert Welch, a chairman of obstetrics and gynecology, says a new diagnosis may be overwhelming for a lot of women.  He adds that, in a Medicaid population, it can be more difficult to have diabetes well-monitored, which could add to the stress these women are already feeling. 


For more information, always consult your doctor.  Thank you for listening.  Please visit our website for more information on health wellness topics. 

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