Diabetes may increase risk for perinatal depression

March 15, 2009

Women who develop diabetes before or during pregnancy are likelier to experience perinatal depresssion.

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 6 months prior to 1 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% versus 8.5%), 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 69% 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.”

Kozhimannil KB, Pereira MA, Harlow BL. Association between diabetes and perinatal depression among low-income mothers. JAMA. 2009;301:842-847.