Depression during pregnancy triggered by eating disorders, abuse

Women with a history of physical or sexual abuse or an eating disorder are more likely to develop depression during and after their pregnancy, according to new research from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. So reports Medical News Today.

158 pregnant and postpartum women undergoing treatment at UNC’s Perinatal Psychiatry Clinic were surveyed. One-third of those reported a history of eating disorders while many had a history of abuse.

Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, the lead author of the study and director of UNC’s Perinatal Psychiatry Program, said that mental health screening tools which include questions about a patient’s history should be a part of routine prenatal care.

“Screening by obstetrical providers is really important because they can refer patients for appropriate treatment,” she said. “And that can prevent long-lasting problems for mom and baby.”

It’s so important because children often inherit much from their mothers. Children of depressed mothers may develop their own mental health issues. It’s a similar story with eating disorders such as binge eating, bulimia and anorexia.