Women who have a history of depression face risk of developing diabetes while they’re expecting, says a new study.

Study co-author, Mary Byrn, PhD, RN, at the Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing (MNSON), said that women should be aware and raise the issue with their doctor, adding that health-care providers also should know and understand the prevalence and symptoms of prenatal depression and gestational diabetes and screen and manage these women appropriately.

The study also pointed to how common depression is during pregnancy and the need for screening and education.

Loyola researchers used the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen to measure symptoms of depression in 135 pregnant women attending routine prenatal care visits. 65 study participants had gestational diabetes. These women were 3.79 times more likely to have a history of depression than women without gestational diabetes. In addition, 20 percent of women with gestational diabetes and 13 percent of women without gestational diabetes had significant symptoms of depression. Anxiety and perceived stress were significant predictive factors of depression for both groups.

Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN, study co-author and professor, MNSON added that depression may also contribute to the poor self-management of gestational diabetes and potentially increase the chance for complications during pregnancy.

The study is published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing.

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