Depression Doubles Your Risk of Preterm Delivery

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We all worry about the possibility of an early delivery, but some women are in greater danger of an early arrival for their baby (less than 37 weeks of gestation) than others. A new study by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research shows that women suffering from depression have twice the risk of preterm delivery than pregnant women with no symptoms of depression. Twice. Yikes. Further, the risk grows with the severity of the depression. Lots of research has been done on post-partum depression, but less on the serious blues while a woman is carrying, which makes the study notable.

If you're pregnant or considering becoming pregnant and are dealing with depression, here are a few key tips -- courtesy of Dr. Tracy Flanagan, an OB/GYN and the Director of Women's Health at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California -- on how to cope.

Tips for Women Dealing with Depression Before and During Pregnancy

  • If you are considring getting pregnant and are prone to the blues, talk to your doctor.
  • If you are taking anti-depressants and considering pregnancy, work with your doctor on the best approach to managing both your depression and your pregnancy.
  • Find a support network of other pregnant women to relieve common worries and feel more connected to others. (There are a number of groups here centered around moms battling the blues -- you might want to connect with Mommies with Depression or Moms with Depression and Have Nowhere to Go....Support Group.)
  • If you are feeling down during your pregnancy, take good care of your body and your self by eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting more rest.
  • Get exercise everyday (check with your doctor first.) Pregnant women who exercise are more accepting of their body changes and less likely to suffer from depression.
  • Join a prenatal class to learn more about pregnancy, childbirth, and infant care and to connect with other moms-to-be.
  • Share your feelings with your partner and nurture your relationship with your partner before the baby arrives. Take a "babymoon."
  • Tell your doctor if you're having angry or negative feelings.

If you're willing to share in the comments below, have you experienced what you might consider a little more than just the baby blues, during or after pregnancy?

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