A new study by Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care says low-income women with diabetes are up to sixty percent more likely to have postpartum depression than low-income women without diabetes.
Depression is common in pregnant women and new mothers. But the researchers found that diabetic low-income women are especially vulnerable, possibly because diabetes can affect brain function.
And Harvard's Katy Backes Kozhimannil says depression doesn't just harm the mothers alone.
"Postpartum depression also may have severe long-term negative impacts not only on the women themselves, but also on their children and even their families," says Kozhimannil, a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. "So this is an important public health concern, and it's also a treatable illness."
Kozhimannil says doctors should be alert to diagnosing and treating depression in low-income mothers.
The study, which looked at more than 11,000 women, appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
This program aired on February 25, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.