A link has been found between gestational diabetes and depression during and after pregnancy, researchers have said.
Gestational diabetes occurs in expectant women and, if left untreated, can cause serious health problems for mother and child.
Dr Stefanie Hinkle, from the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), said: “Our data suggest that depression and gestational diabetes may occur together.
“Until we learn more, physicians may want to consider observing pregnant women with depressive symptoms for signs of gestational diabetes. They also may want to monitor women who have had gestational diabetes for signs of postpartum depression.”
The research team analysed a series of pregnancy records and discovered feelings of depression in women during the first two trimesters were nearly twice as likely to develop in those who had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
The findings also suggested that those who had gestational diabetes were more likely to develop postnatal depression once they had given birth.
A total of 2,802 women took part in the study and of those participants, 468 were obese.
Researchers used records from the NICHD Fetal Growth Studies-Singleton Cohort, a long-term study that tracks the health of women and babies during and after pregnancy.
Participants of the study answered questions on depression during their first and second trimesters of pregnancy and six weeks after giving birth.
Study co-author Dr Cuilin Zhang said: “Of particular note, persistent depression from the first to second trimester set women at even greater risk for gestational diabetes.
“Our results suggest it would be a good idea for clinicians to pay particular attention to women with high depression scores when evaluating the risk of gestational diabetes.”
The findings, which have been published in the Diabetologia journal, suggested that 15 per cent of women who developed gestational diabetes showed signs of depression after birth.
The risk is four times higher than those who had not been diagnosed with the condition during pregnancy.
The researchers have said the study does not explain why there is a link between gestational diabetes and depression, although previous studies have shown depression is associated with impaired glucose metabolism which could lead to higher blood sugar levels.

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