Pregnant women and new moms with diabetes are nearly twice as likely as other women to suffer depression, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study included only low-income women, and it is not clear if the findings extend to other groups of pregnant women and new moms.
For the study, the researchers examined medical claims data from more than 11,000 pregnant women enrolled in New Jersey’s Medicaid program from July 2004 to September 2006. The data covered six months before to one year after the women gave birth.
“What our study found is pregnant women and new mothers with diabetes have nearly double the chance of experiencing postpartum depression compared with those without,” said Harvard Medical School’s Katy Backes Kozhimannil, one of the study’s authors. This link remained consistent across all types of diabetes, including type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes, which develops during pregnancy.
The researchers caution that these findings do not establish that diabetes causes postpartum depression, only that the two are related.
What to take away from this study: If you have any form of diabetes and are pregnant or plan to become, you should talk to your doctor about ways to prevent or plan for postpartum depression. You should also know that not every woman who has diabetes gets postpartum depression.