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Diabetes Linked to Depression During and After Pregnancy
Date:2/24/2009

Study was based on more than 11,000 low-income mothers,,,,

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Low-income women with diabetes who are pregnant or recently gave birth face almost twice the risk of depression compared to women without the blood sugar disorder, a new study found.

And, it didn't matter whether the women developed diabetes before or during pregnancy, or if they were taking insulin or oral medications. The risk of depression was still much stronger for women with diabetes, the study found.

"Those with diabetes have nearly twice the risk of depression during pregnancy and post-partum," said the study's lead author, Katy Backes Kozhimannil, a research fellow in the department of ambulatory care and prevention at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

And, Kozhimannil added, women who'd never been depressed before appeared to be at risk, too. "One in 10 women who had no indication of prior depression received a diagnosis of depression within a year following delivery," she said.

Results of the study were published in the Feb. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Although the study didn't look at potential reasons for this association, Kozhimannil said there are biological changes that occur with diabetes that might increase the risk of depression. She also said the stress of managing a chronic illness might contribute to the risk of depression.

Post-partum depression affects about 10 percent of new mothers, usually between two and six months after birth, according to background information in the study. If left untreated, post-partum depression can affect the mother-child relationship as well as the child's development.

Risk factors for post-partum depression include a history of depression, troubled relationships, domestic violence, stressful life events, financial problems, lack of social or emotional support, a difficult pregnancy or
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