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Depression during pregnancy can lead to diabetes

Depression during pregnancy can lead to diabetes

Pregnant women suffering from depression are three times more likely to develop diabetes, new research claims.

Experiencing postpartum depression, also known as the baby blues, is a common occurrence after women give birth, with the Britain’s the NHS calculating it affects more than one in every 10 women. Women can also suffer depression while pregnant, and both of these instances have now been linked to gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is when women develop high blood sugar levels during pregnancy, due to not being able to produce enough insulin to meet the extra needed in pregnancy.

Researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development analysed data from around 2,800 women and their babies during and after pregnancy. Participants answered questions during their first and second trimesters (up until 28 weeks of pregnancy), and then again six weeks after giving birth. The questions asked led the experts to determine if any of the women were suffering from depression, enabling them to calculate a depression score. Medical records were also checked for signs of diabetes.

Results showed that 15 per cent of participants who developed gestational diabetes showed signs of depression after giving birth. They also had high depression scores during pregnancy.

Results have been published in journal Diabetologia, with lead researcher Stefanie Hinkle explaining she hopes this will make doctors more alert when treating pregnant women suffering with depression.

“Our data suggest that depression and gestational diabetes may occur together,” she said. “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.”

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