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Depression Increases Preterm Delivery Risk

Depression Increases Preterm Delivery Risk

Reported October 24, 2008

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — New research reveals there may be a significant link between depression during pregnancy and preterm delivery.

Preterm delivery (delivery at less than 37 weeks gestation) is the leading cause of infant mortality and morbidity. It’s also the leading reason behind medical expenditure for infants with estimated annual cost of $26 billion in the U.S. alone.

According to researchers at Kaiser Permanente, depressed pregnant women have twice the risk of preterm delivery than pregnant women with no signs of depression. During the study, which was among the first to examine the depression-preterm delivery link, researchers also found the risk grows with the severity of the depressive symptoms.



“This study adds to emerging evidence that depression during early pregnancy may interfere with the neuroendocrine pathways and subsequently placental function. The placenta and neuroendocrine functions play an important role in maintaining the health of a pregnancy and determining the onset of labor,” the study’s lead author Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., was quoted as saying.

Other than a prior history of preterm delivery and some pregnancy complications, very little is known about other risk factors for preterm delivery.

SOURCE: Human Reproduction, published online Oct. 23, 2008

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