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Depressed Pregnant Women Have Premature Delivery

Update Date: Jul 26, 2012 09:06 AM EDT

A latest study suggests that women who show symptoms of depression during pregnancy could deliver early.

According to the study conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago, out of the 14,000 pregnant women who participated in the study, those who were tested positive for signs of depression delivered early. While 14 percent of them delivered before the 37th week of pregnancy, only 10 percent of women with no depression delivered around the same time. 

The study does not establish a cause and effect relation between depression and preterm birth, rather it only links them.

While the researchers considered some variables in the study such as the mother's race and age, many other variables such as the mother's smoking and drinking habits during pregnancy and their pre-pregnancy weight could not be accounted for. 

Even so, the findings are yet another evidence for the findings of previous studies which have linked prenatal depression and preterm birth, said senior researcher Dr Richard K. Silver, of the NorthShore University HealthSystem and University of Chicago in Illinois, according to REUTERS.

According to some studies, expectant mothers who take anti-depressants are more likely to deliver early. But then, that is not an evidence enough to blame the medicines.  

Silver further said that it was unclear if any sort of depression treatment like talking or medication brought down the risk of preterm birth. Silver said that expectant mothers who experience depression need to be aware of the signs of preterm labor including pressure in the pelvis that feels like the baby pushing down; vaginal bleeding; and cramps or contractions that come every 10 minutes or more often, the report said.

Undergoing a test for the signs of depression by pregnant women, new moms and their families is highly recommended according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The findings of the study were reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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