Gestational diabetes may predispose to postpartum depression symptoms

September 4, 2018, University of Eastern Finland
Mothers diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus have an elevated risk of developing postpartum depression symptoms and type 2 diabetes later in life. Credit: University of Eastern Finland

Mothers diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) have an elevated risk of developing postpartum depression symptoms, according to a new Finnish study.

Gestational mellitus refers to impaired glucose metabolism during pregnancy. Often, mothers with GDM have too high blood glucose levels, and this increases the risk of various adverse effects on the fetus. Moreover, GDM increases the mother's risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Postpartum symptoms are experienced by 10–15 per cent of mothers after childbirth. The newly published study used the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to assess depression symptoms during the third trimester of pregnancy and eight weeks after delivery.

Postpartum depression symptoms were observed in 16 per cent of mothers diagnosed with GDM, and in approximately nine per cent of mothers without GDM. The researchers used statistical methods to adjust the results for other factors contributing to the risk of GDM and postpartum depression symptoms, such as maternal age at delivery, body mass index and depression symptoms experienced during pregnancy. The findings were reported in Journal of Affective Disorders.

Conducted by the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Helsinki, Kuopio University Hospital and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, the study pooled data from Kuopio Birth Cohort, which is an ongoing follow-up of women from the beginning of their pregnancy. Altogether, 1,066 mothers with no previous mental health issues were selected for the study.

"Psychological mechanisms may partially explain the observed association between GDM and postpartum depression symptoms," says Doctoral Student Aleksi Ruohomäki, the first author of the study. "Being diagnosed during with a disease that might harm the fetus can be a stressful experience, which may predispose to depression symptoms."

"Furthermore, physiological mechanisms may also contribute to this association," adds Dr. Soili Lehto, Group Leader of Kuopio Birth Cohort's mental well-being section. "Impaired glucose metabolism may increase cytokine mediated low-grade inflammation, which has also been associated with depression. Previous studies have also shown that type 2 diabetes predisposes to depression, and depression to type 2 diabetes".

Research evidence is scarce regarding the possible effects of GDM on depression symptoms, and the new Finnish study is an important contribution to this emerging area of research.

Explore further: Fear of childbirth predicts postpartum depression

More information: Aleksi Ruohomäki et al. The association between gestational diabetes mellitus and postpartum depressive symptomatology: A prospective cohort study, Journal of Affective Disorders (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.08.070

Related Stories

Fear of childbirth predicts postpartum depression

January 3, 2014
Expectant women with prenatally diagnosed fear of childbirth are at an increased risk of postpartum depression, according to a study of over 500,000 mothers in Finland. Women with a history of depression are at the highest ...

Depression during and after pregnancy may affect children's development

April 19, 2018
Maternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy, in the first year postpartum, and in early childhood were linked with poorer child neurodevelopment in a recent Depression & Anxiety study.

Postpartum depression least severe form of depression in mothers

June 15, 2016
Postpartum depression—a household term since actress Brooke Shields went public in 2005 about her struggle with it—is indeed serious. But depression that begins before or during pregnancy is often more severe because ...

Hair cortisol levels predict which mothers are more likely to suffer postpartum depression

November 14, 2017
Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR), who belong to the Brain, Mind and Behavior Research Center (CIMCYC, from its abbreviation in Spanish) and the Faculty of Psychology, have proven that cortisol levels present ...

Know the signs of postpartum depression

June 14, 2018
(HealthDay)—Having a baby is a unique joy, yet it can also bring profound sadness to some women.

Urinary incontinence doubles risk of postpartum depression

June 20, 2011
Women with urinary incontinence after giving birth are almost twice as likely to develop postpartum depression as those without incontinence, according to a new study led by Wendy Sword, a professor in McMaster University's ...

Recommended for you

Why the brain struggles to get off the sofa

September 18, 2018
About 30% of adults and 80% of teenagers today do not meet the minimum levels of daily physical activity for staying healthy, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Previous studies have already demonstrated ...

New brain research suggests that schizophrenia is an extreme version of a common personality type

September 18, 2018
Researchers have found that the signals in people's brains differ depending on a particular aspect of an individual's personality, termed Schizotypy, a discovery that could improve the way schizophrenia is characterised and ...

Do we trust people who speak with an accent?

September 18, 2018
You are in a strange neighbourhood, your cell phone's dead, and you desperately need to find the closest garage. A couple of people on the street chime in, each sending you in opposite directions. One person sounds like a ...

New era in virtual reality therapy for common phobias

September 18, 2018
Dick Tracey didn't have to visit a tall building to get over his fear of heights. He put on a virtual reality headset.

We are predisposed to forgive, new research suggests

September 17, 2018
When assessing the moral character of others, people cling to good impressions but readily adjust their opinions about those who have behaved badly, according to new research.

Undiagnosed STIs can increase negative PMS symptoms

September 17, 2018
Women that have undiagnosed sexually transmitted infections may be at greater risk of experiencing negative premenstrual symptoms (PMS), according to new Oxford University research.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.