Gestational diabetes is a form of high blood sugar affecting pregnant women.
The findings showed that women with a history of depression are more than 20 times more likely to experience postpartum depression than mothers without a previous clinical diagnosis of depression.
“While having diabetes increases postpartum depression risk for all women, for those women who have had a past depressive episode, having diabetes during pregnancy makes it 70 per cent more likely that they will develop postpartum depression,” said lead author Michael E. Silverman, Assistant Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, US.
Postpartum depression can result in negative personal and child developmental outcomes.
In addition, the study found that among women with a history of depression, pre-gestational diabetes and mild preterm delivery increased the risk of postpartum depression.
On the other hand, in women who had no history of depression, young age, instrument-assisted or cesarean delivery, and moderate preterm delivery increased risk of postpartum depression.
Showing that a history of depression modifies some of the risks associated with obstetric and perinatal factors suggests that there may be different causal pathways of postpartum depression in women with and without a history of depression, the researchers said.
“Most practitioners think of these as two isolated and very different conditions, but we now understand gestational diabetes and postpartum depression should be considered together,” Silverman said.
For the study, published in the journal Depression and Anxiety the team included more than 700,000 first-time mothers from Sweden.