Women who have depression symptoms during pregnancy may be more likely to deliver early, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that of more than 14,000 pregnant women, those who screened positive for possible clinical depression had an increased chance of preterm birth: 14 percent delivered before the 37th week of pregnancy, versus 10 percent of other women.
The findings, reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, do not prove thatdepression directly leads to preterm birth.
The researchers were able to account for some other factors — like a mother’s race and age — and depression was still linked to preterm birth risk.
But there are other variables the study could not weigh, like moms’ smoking and drinking habits during pregnancy, and their pre-pregnancy weight. So there could be other explanations.
Still, the findings jibe with past studies that have found a link between prenatal depression and preterm birth, said senior researcher Dr. Richard K. Silver, of the NorthShore University HealthSystem and University of Chicago in Illinois.