First Trimester Depression Scores Predict Development of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Pregnant Rural Appalachian Women

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Gestational diabetes (GDM) occurs in up to 9% of pregnancies. Perinatal depression affects up to 20% of women during pregnancy, and can extend into the postpartum period. A number of studies have linked depression and diabetes, however, whether this applies to GDM or which might come first is less understood. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential relationship between depression identified in the first trimester of pregnancy and the subsequent development of GDM. Women without pre-existing Type I/II diabetes (n = 1021) were evaluated for depression during the first trimester of pregnancy, and medical records were reviewed to identify a positive history of diabetes. Women identified as depressed during the first trimester were more likely to have GDM compared to those not depressed. After controlling for demographic factors and weight-related variables level of depression in the first trimester still predicted later GDM development. Depression identified in early pregnancy may predict increased risk of subsequent GDM development. Due to the numerous maternal, fetal and neonatal complications associated with GDM, early recognition is essential to promote the best possible outcomes for mother and infant. Recognizing depression as a possible risk factor for GDM development could lead to earlier screening and preventative measures.