Anxiety and Depression in Early Gestation and the Association with Subsequent Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in a Disadvantaged Population

Maleesa M. Pathirana, Prabha H. Andraweera, Shalem Leemaqz, Emily Aldridge, Margaret A. Arstall, Gustaaf A. Dekker, Claire T. Roberts

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Objectives: Evaluate the association between poor mental health and risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in a cohort of women from a socioeconomically disadvantaged community. 

Methods: A total of 1363 nulliparous women with singleton pregnancies recruited to the Screening Tests to Predict Poor Outcomes of Pregnancy study in Adelaide, Australia. Women were assessed for mental health in the first trimester, including likelihood of depression, high functioning anxiety, perceived stress and risk of developing a mental health disorder. GDM was diagnosed based on the International Association of Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group (IADPSG) criteria. Socioeconomic status was measured using the New Zealand Socioeconomic Index (NZSEI). 

Results: Complete mental health data was available for 1281 participants. There was no statistically significant difference in SEI, depression, risk of mental health issues, high functioning anxiety and perceived stress between women who developed GDM and those who did not. There was no difference in history of depression nor risk of developing a high mental health disorder in first trimester after adjusting for SEI, BMI in first trimester, smoking status in first trimester and maternal age between women with a GDM pregnancy and those who did not.

Conclusions for Practice: There was no difference in markers of poor mental health in early pregnancy between women who subsequently did or did not develop GDM. Cohort participants were socioeconomically disadvantaged, potentially contributing to the lack of apparent differences in depression observed between groups. Socioeconomically disadvantaged women should be targeted in pre-conception planning to reduce risk of GDM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2185-2193
Number of pages9
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number12
Early online date12 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Gestational diabetes mellitus
  • Maternal health
  • Pregnancy


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