A new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health focusing on Medicaid Records of over 11.000 NJ moms found an association between Diabetes & Perinatal Depression. The conclusion of the study is that Moms with Diabetes are 55-60% more likely to develop Perinatal Depression. The researchers are quick to point out the Diabetes isn’t necessarily the source of the Depression and that they didn’t take into consideration a family history of mental illness or other risk factors for Perinatal Depression. Their requirements for identification of depression relied on a written diagnosis or filling of anti-depressant prescription during the course of the study. Mothers included in the study had been eligible for Medicaid 6 months prior to birth and up to one year post-delivery.
While the study isn’t conclusive due to the focus on such a local and specific population, the researchers encourage health care providers with Medicaid patients and a Diabetes diagnosis to focus a little more on depression prevention. You can read more about the study here.
My thoughts on this? The beginning of my Postpartum Mood Disorder journey began when my husband had a good job and we had private insurance. I DID develop Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy and went on to develop full blown Postpartum Depression & OCD but was never officially diagnosed. My second pregnancy we still had good insurance but were struggling a bit financially but I did not have Gestational Diabetes – landed in the hospital. Third pregnancy was a Medicaid pregnancy as we did not have access to private insurance. I did not develop Gestational Diabetes and did not have a Mood Disorder either. But I had also become quite educated about PMD’s by then and was very forceful in my advocacy of care.
Research like this should always be taken cautiously and with a grain of salt. It’s encouraging and exciting that so many researchers have taken an interest in Postpartum Mood Disorders but always make sure to look at the big picture and do your own homework before taking someone else’s word for it!