Many women look forward to a radiant, flawless glow that’s expected to come with pregnancy. However, despite the upbeat exterior, many pregnant women suffer from depression, with potentially serious medical consequences for the mother and the baby.
This paper reviews outcomes of pregnancy when mothers have depression. What they found was that having depression during pregnancy is significantly associated with higher rates of pre-term delivery, low birth weights, pre-eclampsia, and spontaneous abortion. In children born to depressed mothers, higher rates of emotional and behavioral problems were seen.
The prevailing theory is that increased stress hormones can potentially cause complications in the mother and the baby. However, it’s interesting that these same complications are very similar to complications of untreated obstructive sleep apnea. We know that poor breathing during sleep (which leads to inefficient sleep) can lead to increased levels of physiologic stress. Added weight gain and snoring are known and normal consequence of pregnancy.
With about 20 to 30% of pregnant women suffering from depression, it’s important to screen for depression. Better yet, perhaps doctors should routinely screen for obstructive sleep apnea in all pregnant women. Of course this paper doesn’t discuss depression that can happen after delivery (postpartum depression).
For the mothers that are reading this, did you suffer from depression during pregnancy, and if so, do you currently snore?