Depression During Pregnancy Linked to Abuse and Eating Disorders

Jun 21, 2011

A study from UNC-Chapel Hill has found elevated levels of abuse and eating disorders in pregnant women who experience depression. Doctors at the UNC School of Medicine say about one-third of pregnant women with depression also experienced eating disorders. About 1 percent of the general population has an eating disorder. Doctor Samantha Meltzer-Brody is the lead author of the study. She says physicians should routinely test pregnant women for eating disorders and abuse.

Samantha Meltzer-Brody: "People providing obstetrical care need to do comprehensive mental health assessments and those mental health assessments must include evaluations for history of trauma and abuse because that can cause all kinds of long-lasting psychiatric issues including post-traumatic stress disorder as well as mood and anxiety."
Meltzer-Brody says women can experience anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder if their depression goes untreated. One in ten women experiences depression during pregnancy.