WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Depression in pregnant women can lead to premature birth.
In the United States, 12% of women give birth prematurely due to many factors.
One of those factors is depression.
That's why The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that if you are pregnant, you get screened at least once for depression during pregnancy.
According to Dr. Imelda Odibo with Atlantic Fetal Medicine, a woman who is pregnant is not more likely to become depressed just because of the pregnancy, but depression can reoccur at a more severe level while pregnant.
"With depression you have derangement with certain neurotransmitters in the brain," said Dr. Odibo, "These include serotonin and dopamine."
Serotonin and dopamine are stress hormones, and if a woman is stressed while pregnant, the stress could lead to preterm birth.
"Depression in the mother is not the only factor that causes this, " said Dr. Odibo, "Paternal depression could also be a risk factor for preterm birth."
To spot depression, you or your partner may exhibit symptoms such as sleep issues, weight issues, lacking interest in everyday activities, and avoiding spending time with friends and family.