Women with prior depression more likely to develop gestational diabetes

A past history of depression may increase the chance of women developing gestational diabetes, a Chicago study has found.

The aim of the study led by researchers from Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing (MNSON) was to determine whether women with gestational diabetes had more symptoms of depression than those without gestational diabetes.

Published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, the study observed 135 pregnant women between 24 and 40 weeks’ gestation for symptoms of depression during routine prenatal care visits. 65 participants had gestational diabetes, and were found to be 3.79 times more likely to have a prior history of depression than those without gestational diabetes.

The study also concluded that symptoms of depression are common during pregnancy. 20% of the women who presented with gestational diabetes and 13% of those without showed significant symptoms of depression, including anxiety and perceived stress.

Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN, study co-author, and professor (MNSON), says that the relationship between diabetes and depression is complex, and must be further explored.

“Depression may also contribute to the poor self-management of gestational diabetes and potentially increase the chance for complications during pregnancy.”

Diabetes NSW Credentialled Diabetes Educator, Genevieve Biviano, says “It is important for healthcare providers to understand gestational diabetes so that women can get the full support they need to manage their health and wellbeing.”

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