Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Early births linked to depression

Filed under:

Women who are depressed during their pregnancy are more likely to give birth early.

This according to a new UK study that finds depressed mothers have dramatically higher levels of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH), the stress hormone that instigates birth.

For most women in the study, the difference in birth date wasn't all that significant -- just 2 days early on average. However, the three participants who gave birth prematurely (before 37 weeks) were all found to be depressed.

While the study was small, involving only 60 women, the lead researcher, Dr Veronica O'Keane, feels it demonstrates a need for greater recognition of depression during pregnancy: "In my opinion, depression is a major cause of pre-term birth because about in about 30% of cases there is no known cause but in that group a large proportion suffer from severe psychosocial stress."

Accordingly, Dr O'Keane feels women with a history of depression may not want to discontinue their antidepressant medication, but rather "should go to a specialist."

No comments: