Thursday, October 30, 2008

Depression and premature birth

A study of 791 women in and around San Francisco has found that those of them who were suffering with symptoms of depression were much more likely to give birth prematurely. The women were interviewed around the 10th week of their pregnancy when 41% reported 'significant' symptoms of depression and 22% reported 'severe' symptoms. Those with 'severe' symptoms had almost twice the risk of an early birth while those with 'significant' symptoms had a 60% greater risk. Women who were more likely to report depressive symptoms tended to be younger than 25, unmarried, less educated, poorer, Black and have a history of pre-term delivery. But it may not necessarily be the depression itself that leads directly to premature birth. Depression at 10 weeks could itself be a symptom of another underlying process or problem that causes premature birth. At the same time depression is known to be linked with non-compliance with prenatal care, poor nutrition, inadequate sleep and self-medication with alcohol and drugs so it could be these factors that lead to premature birth rather than depressson per se

You can find out more about this research at

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