Women who suffer depression during pregnancy may be more likely to give birth early, says a British study presented at an Institute of Psychiatry meeting.
The small study compared 25 pregnant women with major depression (but not on medication) to a control group of 35 women without depression. On average, the mothers with depression gave birth two days earlier than the mothers without depression. The study also said that three of the mothers with depression had a premature birth (under 37 weeks gestation). None of the mothers in the control group had a premature birth, BBC News reported.
The study also found that the depressed mothers had much higher levels of the stress hormone corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH), which is known to initiate birth. CRH is also naturally secreted by the placenta during pregnancy.
When the researchers checked the women's babies eight weeks after birth, they found that the babies born to mothers who were depressed during pregnancy had elevated levels of another stress hormone called cortisol, BBC News reported.
Experts noted that depression is common during pregnancy and that a possible link between depression during pregnancy and early birth needs to be examined in a larger study. – (HealthDayNews)