Treatment could prevent premature births. 14 April 2007
TREATING women who become clinically depressed during pregnancy could prevent thousands of premature births.
Veronica O’Keane at the Institute of Psychiatry in London and her colleagues have found a link between clinical depression, levels of stress hormones and premature birth. They found that pregnant women suffering from severe depression had higher levels of the stress hormones cortisol and corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) in their blood than healthy women. They also found that pregnancies were shorter on average in the depressed women. Preterm delivery is the leading cause of infant illness and death.
“Depression is a major cause of preterm birth, and overstimulation of stress hormones is at least one cause of this,” concludes O’Keane, who presented the results at a conference in London this week.
SOURCE: New Scientist magazine