A new Finnish study has established that mothers with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) have an increased risk of developing symptoms of postpartum depression.
The new study on gestational diabetes mellitus and postpartum depression was carried out by the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Helsinki, Kuopio University Hospital and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, and published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
What is gestational diabetes mellitus?
Gestational diabetes mellitus is when glucose metabolism is impaired during the pregnancy. GDM increases the levels of blood glucose levels which increases the risk of negative effects on the fetus and the mother’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
The first author of the study, Aleksi Ruohomäki, commented on how a diagnosis of GDM can affect mothers: “Being diagnosed during pregnancy with a disease that might harm the fetus can be a stressful experience, which may predispose to depression symptoms.”
The link between gestational diabetes and postpartum depression
It is already established that 10-15% of mothers experience postpartum depression systems. The new study has found that 16% of mothers diagnosed with GDM have symptoms of postpartum depression, as opposed to the 9% of mothers without GDM who experience postpartum depression symptoms.
The Group Leader of Kuopio Birth Cohort’s mental wellbeing section, Dr Soili Lehto, said: “Impaired glucose metabolism may increase cytokine mediated low-grade inflammation, which has also been associated with depression. Previous studies have also shown that Type 2 diabetes predisposes to depression, and depression to Type 2 diabetes.”
How was the study carried out?
- The study pooled data from Kuopio Birth Cohort, an ongoing follow-up of women from the beginning of their pregnancy
- The study selected 1,066 mothers with no previous mental health issues
- The researchers adjust the results to account for other risk factors of GDM and postpartum depression, for example, maternal age at the time of childbirth, body mass index of the mother, and depression symptoms during pregnancy.
The study is a significant contribution to the research effects of the possible effects of GDM on mothers after childbirth.