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Antenatal Depression Linked to Preterm Birth, Low Birth Weight

Last Updated: October 08, 2021.

FRIDAY, Oct. 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Depression during pregnancy is associated with increased odds of preterm birth and low birth weight, with stronger associations seen for African Americans, according to a meta-analysis published in the October issue of Health Affairs.

Shannon D. Simonovich, Ph.D., R.N., from DePaul University in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the association between depression during pregnancy and adverse birth outcomes for the time period 2010 to 2020 in the United States. Data from nine studies were included in the meta-analysis.

The researchers observed an association for depression during pregnancy with preterm birth (odds ratio, 1.46). In a subgroup analysis with stratification by race, a significant association was seen between depression during pregnancy and preterm birth in African Americans (odds ratio, 2.33). Depression during pregnancy was significantly associated with low birth weight (odds ratio, 1.90). In a subgroup analysis, a significant association was also seen between antenatal depression and low birth weight among African Americans (odds ratio, 2.47).

"Given this harmful association, universal screening for depression during pregnancy remains a priority to promote early diagnosis and treatment to minimize harm to the maternal-infant dyad," the authors write. "A universal depression screening approach would ensure that African American people received early assessment, referral, and treatment options at the same rate as White people."

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