December 10, 2019
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Depression at different points in pregnancy may accompany gestational diabetes

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Women who develop gestational diabetes may be more likely than those who do not to experience depression early in pregnancy and after delivery, according to findings published in Diabetic Medicine.

“There is a growing body of literature suggesting a bidirectional relationship between type 2 diabetes and mental disorder, particularly depression. A range of mechanisms has been studied, such as inflammation and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation, and shared socioenvironmental risk factors, such as obesity and deprivation,” Claire A. Wilson, MRCPsych, MBChB, BSc(Hons), a clinical research training fellow in the section of women’s mental health at King’s College London, and colleagues wrote. “Given that there is pathophysiology common to both gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes, ie, insulin resistance, there may be a hypothesized association between gestational diabetes and mental disorder.”

Wilson and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 62 studies that assessed mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, during and after pregnancy among women with gestational diabetes.

During pregnancy but before gestational diabetes was diagnosed, women who would be diagnosed with the condition were 2.08 times more likely to experience high levels of depressive symptoms vs. women without gestational diabetes (OR = 2.08; 95% CI, 1.42-3.05).

Pregnant woman and doctor (Shutterstock) 
Women who develop gestational diabetes may be more likely than those who do not to experience depression early in pregnancy and after delivery.
Source: Shutterstock

After giving birth, women who had gestational diabetes were also more likely to have high levels of depressive symptoms vs. women who did not have gestational diabetes (OR = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.26-2). According to the researchers, 13% of women who had gestational diabetes had high levels of depressive symptoms.

“Recent U.S. recommendations on screening for perinatal depression have recommended asking women not only about depressive symptoms, but also about associated risk factors,” the researchers wrote. “The results of our review suggest that gestational diabetes may be considered one of these risk factors, emphasizing the importance of this enquiry at every contact and that women with gestational diabetes may require additional support during pregnancy and in the postpartum.” – by Phil Neuffer

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.