As you probably know, gestational diabetes and depression are two very common problems during pregnancy.
Both depression and gestational diabetes share similar statistics. Gestational diabetes, or diabetes that already existed before the baby was conceived, affect around 10% pregnancies, whereas also around 10% of new mothers suffer from postnatal depression. And one of the risk factors for the latter is the existence of depression during pregnancy.
New light has been shed into the matter as a new study elaborated by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has suggested a link between diabetes in pregnancy and depression, either during pregnancy of after childbirth. If you want to learn all about it, don't miss the following lines.
Diabetes and depression, linked when there's a baby in the way...
The study conducted by the NICHD worked with a sample of 2,800 women, and monitored them for a long period of time to track their health and that of their babies. These women had to explain if they had felt any signs of depression during the first trimester of pregnancy, the second and six weeks after birth. The researchers worked the numbers and determined what they called a 'depression score', and then compared it. They found that the depression score was higher in most women who had suffered from gestational diabetes. However, even if the study did stablish a link, it didn't stablish a cause relationship.
But this is not the first study to stablish a link between both conditions. In 2009, another study by The Journal of the American Medical Association already suggested that diabetes was a risk factor for postnatal depression. According to that study, the amount of women who had to endure postnatal depression was twice as high in the case of women with diabetes.
Katy Backes Kozhimannil, researcher that worked in that first study, stated the following:
Diabetes and depression are both treatable illnesses. If we are able to show that women with diabetes are more vulnerable to postpartum depression we can target detection and intervention efforts to this group.
From Kozhimannil's words, we can understand that further research between the relationship that exists between gestational diabetes and depression would be needed, so doctors can establish the causes and design adequate treatments.
And also when there isn't!
One important precedent for the results of this study is the already acknowledged relationship between diabetes and depression outside of pregnancy. In fact, there are many studies that state that people with diabetes are at more risk of suffering depression, although the reasons why haven't been determined either.
Nonetheless, scientists have found several explanations, many of them related to the stress of managing such a disease. Besides, the diabetic may feel lonely with the disease, since they will need to be especially careful with their food intake and do an extra effort to manage it, something that friends and family don't always understand. This is why support groups can be of great help.
As you can see, gestational diabetes and depression seem to be related, so future mummies with diabetes or gestational diabetes should be on the lookout for signs of depression as well. Depression can be a hard sickness to diagnose and to acknowledge, especially for whoever's suffering it, and it's important to talk about it. So now that you know that there's a link between diabetes and depression, don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.