Gestational Diabetes Risk Higher in Women with Depression History

Rachel Lutz

Women with a history of depression may have greater odds of developing gestational diabetes.

Women with a history of depression may have greater odds of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

During routine prenatal care visits at an outpatient clinic, researchers from Loyola University Chicago observed 135 women between 24 and 40 weeks pregnant, 65 of whom had GDM. In addition to deducing whether women with GDM have more depression symptoms than peers without it, the study authors aimed to determine whether predictors of depression in women with GDM differ from those among women without GDM.

Employing the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen, the investigators found 20% of women with GDM and 13% of those without GDM showed significant symptoms of depression. Furthermore, the investigators determined women with GDM were 3.79 times more likely to have a history of depression than those without it—a finding that held true even after controlling for age, income, marital status, body mass index, and number of pregnancies.

“Women with a history of depression should be aware of their risk for gestational diabetes during pregnancy and raise the issue with their doctor,” said study co-author Mary Byrn, PhD, RN, in a press release. “Health care providers also should know and understand the prevalence and symptoms of prenatal depression and gestational diabetes and screen and manage these women appropriately.”

Because the results suggest depression symptoms are common during the prenatal period, the researchers advised assessing depression in pregnant patients, monitoring them for GDM development, and counseling them about both conditions.

“Depression may also contribute to the poor self-management of gestational diabetes and potentially increase the chance for complications during pregnancy,” said study co-author Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN, in the statement. “We must further explore the relationship between diabetes and depression to help understand and improve prenatal care and outcomes for women and infants.”

The study was published in Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing.