A new study has discovered a link between gestational diabetes and postpartum depression.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression happens in 10 to 15 percent of mothers, when a mother becomes depressed for longer than a few weeks following the birth of her baby. Symptoms include depressed mood, severe mood swings, insomnia, and appetite loss. Postpartum depression can also lead to having a hard time bonding with your baby and withdrawing from family and friends.
Some mothers develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This occurs when mothers-to-be have impaired glucose metabolism and their blood sugar levels get too high. Gestational diabetes can lead to high blood pressure and preeclampsia. It can be managed with diet and exercise, and will usually disappear after birth.
There are complications that can arise for the baby, such as high birth weight, early birth, respiratory distress syndrome, and hypoglycemia after birth. A gestational diabetes diagnosis does puts both mother and baby at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
Postpartum depression and gestational diabetes: What’s the connection?
A new Finnish study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that postpartum symptoms were found in 16 percent of mothers who had gestational diabetes, and 9 percent of those without.
The study used the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to measure depression symptoms in the third trimester up to 8 weeks post-delivery in 1,066 mothers with no previous depression issues. One reason for the development of postpartum could be the stress brought on by a gestational diabetes diagnosis. In addition, having gestational diabetes may increase cytokine-mediated low-grade inflammation, which is associated with depression.
There is also a link that has been shown between type 2 diabetes and depression.
The hope is that these findings will lead to more breakthroughs and ways to alleviate both postpartum depression and gestational diabetes.