Association between diabetes and perinatal depression among low-income mothers

JAMA. 2009 Feb 25;301(8):842-7. doi: 10.1001/jama.2009.201.


Context: Perinatal depression affects at least 10% to 12% of new mothers, and diabetes complicates up to 9% of pregnancies. Prior research shows a higher rate of major depression among individuals with diabetes.

Objective: To examine the association between diabetes and depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period among a sample of low-income women.

Design, setting, and patients: Retrospective cohort study using data from New Jersey's Medicaid administrative claims database of 11,024 women who gave birth between July 1, 2004, and September 30, 2006, and who were continuously enrolled in Medicaid for 6 months prior to delivery and 1 year after giving birth.

Main outcome measures: Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association between prepregnancy diabetes or gestational diabetes and perinatal depression. Depression was defined as an International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, diagnosis for depression or a prescription drug claim for an antidepressant medication, and diabetes was defined as having a diabetes diagnosis or filling a prescription for a diabetes medication. Both measures were assessed during the 6 months prior to and up to 1 year following delivery.

Results: In the sample of women who gave birth, 15.2% (n = 100) with prepregnancy or gestational diabetes and 8.5% (n = 886) without diabetes were depressed during pregnancy or postpartum. After adjusting for age, race, year of delivery, and gestational age at birth, women with diabetes compared with those without diabetes had nearly double the odds of experiencing depression during the perinatal period (odds ratio, 1.85; 95% confidence interval, 1.45-2.36). Women with diabetes and no prenatal indication of depression (n = 62, 9.6%) had higher odds than their counterparts without diabetes (n = 604, 5.9%) of receiving a postpartum depression diagnosis or taking an antidepressant medication in the year following delivery (odds ratio, 1.69; 95% confidence interval, 1.27-2.23).

Conclusion: Prepregnancy or gestational diabetes was independently associated with perinatal depression, including new onset of postpartum depression, in our sample of low-income new mothers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / complications*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / complications*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Poverty
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics* / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk