A longitudinal study of depression and gestational diabetes in pregnancy and the postpartum period
Depression and glucose intolerance commonly co-occur among non-pregnant individuals; however, the temporal relationship between gestational diabetes (GDM) and depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period is less understood. Our objective was to assess longitudinal associations between depression early in pregnancy and GDM risk, as well as GDM and subsequent risk of postpartum depression.
Data came from the prospective National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Fetal Growth Studies-Singleton cohort (2009–2013), and had been collected at 12 US clinical centres. Pregnant women without psychiatric disorders, diabetes or other chronic conditions before pregnancy were followed throughout pregnancy (n = 2477). Only women with GDM and matched controls were followed up at 6 weeks postpartum (n = 162). GDM was ascertained by a review of the medical records. Depression was assessed in the first (8–13 gestational weeks) and second (16–22 weeks) trimesters and at 6 weeks postpartum using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Postpartum depression was defined as a depressive symptom score ≥10 or antidepressant medicine use after delivery. RR and 95% CI were adjusted for pre-pregnancy BMI and other risk factors. GDM was considered to be the outcome for the first set of analyses, with depression in the first and second trimesters as the exposures. Postpartum depression was considered as the outcome for the second set of analyses, with GDM as the exposure.
Overall, comparing the highest and lowest quartiles of first-trimester depression scores, the scores from the highest quartile were associated with a significant twofold (95% CI 1.06, 3.78) increased risk of GDM, but this was attenuated to 1.72-fold (95% CI 0.92, 3.23) after adjustment; the second-trimester results were similar. The risk was stronger and significant in both trimesters among non-obese women (p for trend 0.02 and 0.01, respectively), but null for obese women. Women with persistently high depression scores in both trimesters had the greatest risk of GDM (highest vs lowest quartile in both trimesters: adjusted RR 3.21, 95% CI 1.00, 10.28). GDM was associated with an adjusted 4.62-fold (95% CI 1.26, 16.98) increased risk of subsequent postpartum depression.
This prospective study demonstrates a modest association between depressive symptoms early in pregnancy and an increased risk of incident GDM, as well as between GDM and subsequent postpartum depression risk, highlighting pregnancy and the postpartum period as an important susceptible time window during the life course for the interplay between depression and glucose intolerance phenotypes. GDM risk associated with elevated depressive symptoms was particularly high among non-obese women and women with symptoms persisting across the first two trimesters of pregnancy.
KeywordsDepression Gestational diabetes Postpartum Pregnancy
Gestational diabetes mellitus
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development