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Diabetes a risk factor for postpartum depression
Date:2/24/2009

July 2004 and September 2006. All women in the study were eligible for Medicaid 6 months prior to and one year after delivery and had incomes less than 115% of the federal poverty line ($24,000 for a family of four in 2006).

The researchers identified a woman as having depression if her records indicated a diagnosis, or if she had filled a prescription for an antidepressant medication during the study period. (Diabetes was also identified using both diagnosis and prescription information.)

Study data indicated that 9.6 percent of women with diabetes, who had no indication of depression during pregnancy, developed depression during the year following delivery, compared with 5.9 percent of women without diabetes. Put another way, pregnant women and new mothers with diabetes were approximately 55 to 60 percent more likely to experience postpartum depression. The increased risk of postpartam depression is similar for women who already had diabetes and those who developed it during pregnancy.

The researchers caution that these findings do not establish that diabetes causes postpartum depression, only that the two are related. Also, the medical claims data they used did not contain information on personal or family history of depression, weight or body mass index. Plus, it isn't yet clear the extent to which one can generalize findings from such a specific and localized population.

Still, according to Kozhimannil, "Health care facilities and clinicians that serve low-income and Medicaid populations may want to pay particular attention to managing the mental health concerns of women with diabetes during pregnancy and the postpartum period."


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Contact: David Cameron
david_cameron@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-0441
Harvard Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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