Gestational Diabetes Raises the Risk of Postpartum Depression

According to a recent study from Ilam University of Medical Sciences in Ilam, Iran, and the Behbahan Faculty of Medical Sciences in Behbahan, Iran, Gestational diabetes or pregnancy-related diabetes raises the risk of postpartum depression, or the new mother feeling more depressed for a longer time period than ordinary “baby blues” women often experience after giving birth. The researchers, reported in February of 2019 in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, recommending postpartum screening for all women who received a diagnosis of diabetes during their pregnancy.

The researchers reviewed a total of eighteen studies giving a total of 2,370,958 participants. Combining the results of all these studies and analyzing them as if they were one large study, the investigators found Gestationally diabetic women had a 59 percent increased risk of developing postpartum depression, compared with non-diabetic postpartum women. According to the World Health Organisation, about 13 percent of pregnant women worldwide suffer postpartum depression. In developing countries, the number can be as high as almost 20 percent, and in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control estimates the number as about 1 in 9.

Many signs and symptoms of postpartum depression are much the same as those for typical depression, while others are specific to the condition…

  • an anxious or empty mood that does not lift,
  • having feelings of guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, or worthlessness,
  • feeling irritability or restlessness,
  • loss of interest in formerly interesting activities,
  • loss of energy,
  • insomnia or too much sleep,
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making a decision,
  • overeating or experiencing a loss of appetite,
  • having suicidal thoughts or attempts,
  • pain that does not respond to treatment,
  • crying,
  • intense irritability,
  • withdrawal from family and friends,
  • numb emotions or difficulty with bonding with her baby,
  • having a fear of hurting her baby,
  • feeling inadequate to care for her baby.

Depression and suicide hotlines are listed online. Family doctors can make referrals to specialists with training and experience in treating depression. Physical activity is helpful for brain chemistry, producing endorphins that make us feel better. Some people fear antidepressant medications, but they can make a big difference in conquering depression. Some helpful medications include…

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s):

  • Prozac (fluoxetine,)
  • Zoloft (sertraline),
  • Lexapro (escitalopram),
  • Luvox (fluvoxamine),
  • Prozac (fluoxetine),
  • Celexa (citalopram),
  • Vibrid (volazodone),
  • Brintellix (vortioxetine),

Selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI’s):

  • Pristiq or Khedezia (desvenlafaxine),
  • Effexor (venlaxafine),
  • Fetzima (levomilnacipran), and
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine).


  • Elavil (amitriptyline),
  • Norpramin (desipramine),
  • Asendin (amoxapine),
  • Anafranil (clomipramine),
  • Pamelor (nortriptyline),
  • Tofranil (imipramine),
  • Vivactil (protriptyline), and
  • Surmontil (trimipramine.)

Untreated postpartum depression may last months or longer. Treatment usually includes counseling, along with antidepressants or hormone therapy.