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Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2013 Jul;27(4):323-8. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12057. Epub 2013 May 9.

The association between a medical history of depression and gestational diabetes in a large multi-ethnic cohort in the United States.

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Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20852, USA.



Both major depression and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are prevalent among women of reproductive age. Our objective was to determine whether a medical history of depression is related to subsequent development of GDM.


The Consortium on Safe Labor was a US retrospective cohort study of 228,562 births between 2002 and 2008. Exclusion criteria for the present analysis included multiple gestation pregnancies (n = 5059), pre-existing diabetes (n = 12,771), deliveries <24 weeks (n = 395), site GDM prevalence (<1%) (n = 20, 721) and missing data on pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) (n = 61,321). Using generalised estimating equations, we estimated the association between a history of depression and a pregnancy complicated by GDM.


The final analytic population included 121, 260 women contributing 128 295 pregnancies, of which 5606 were affected by GDM. A history of depression was significantly associated with an increased risk of developing GDM (multivariate odds ratio [aOR] = 1.42 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.26, 1.60]). Adjusting for pre-pregnancy BMI and weight gain during pregnancy attenuated the association, although it remained statistically significant (aOR = 1.17 [95% CI 1.03, 1.33]).


A history of depression was significantly associated with an increased GDM risk among a large multi-ethnic US cohort of women. If the association is confirmed, depression presents a potentially modifiable risk factor of GDM and provides additional clues to the underlying pathophysiology of GDM.

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