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Biol Psychol. 2016 May;117:32-42. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.02.002. Epub 2016 Feb 8.

The role of maternal cardiac vagal control in the association between depressive symptoms and gestational hypertension.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada.
2
Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada; Department of Paediatrics, University of Calgary, 2888 Shaganappi Trail NW, Calgary, AB T3B 6A8, Canada.
3
Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada.
4
Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada; Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada; Department of Paediatrics, University of Calgary, 2888 Shaganappi Trail NW, Calgary, AB T3B 6A8, Canada. Electronic address: ggiesbre@ucalgary.ca.

Abstract

Reduced cardiac vagal control, indexed by relatively lower high-frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV), is implicated in depressed mood and hypertensive disorders among non-pregnant adults whereas research in pregnancy is limited. This study examined whether maternal HF-HRV during pregnancy mediates the association between depressed mood and gestational hypertension. Depressive symptoms (Edinburgh Depression Scale) and HF-HRV were measured during early (M=14.9 weeks) and late (M=32.4 weeks) pregnancy in 287 women. Gestational hypertension was determined by chart review. Depressive symptoms were associated with less HF-HRV (b=-0.02, p=.001). There was an indirect effect of depressed mood on gestational hypertension through late pregnancy HF-HRV (b=0.04, 95% CI 0.0038, 0.1028) after accounting for heart rate. These findings suggest cardiac vagal control is a possible pathway through which prenatal depressed mood is associated with gestational hypertension, though causal ordering remains uncertain.

KEYWORDS:

Cardiac vagal control; Depressive symptoms; Gestational hypertension; Heart rate; High-frequency heart rate variability; Pregnancy

PMID:
26868182
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.02.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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