Scientists recently conducted a new study whose findings led them to conclude that Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), otherwise known as severe morning sickness, might be linked to depression.
According to the research, roughly 1 to 2 percent of pregnant women experience severe morning sickness in the UK. It is so severe compared to regular morning sickness to the point where it is considered one of the most common reasons why many pregnant women get hospitalized. Some women are required to have bed rest for weeks due to this condition. It also comes with other complications such as weight loss and dehydration.
Researchers found that almost half of the women that suffered from HG also went through antenatal depression, and almost a third of them experienced postnatal depression. Only 6 percent of the women who did not go through HG were diagnosed with antenatal and postnatal depression. The study was jointly conducted by researchers from the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College London.
“Our study shows that women with HG are around eight times more likely to suffer antenatal depression and four times more likely to have postnatal depression,” stated Dr. Nicola Mitchell-Jones, who was the lead author in the study.
HG is not receiving the attention it deserves, according to the study’s lead author
Dr. Jones believes that the condition deserves to be treated with more seriousness by healthcare professionals and the general public. She noted that some of the women in the study experienced a HG phase where they thought of harming themselves. Dr. Jones also claims a more proactive approach is needed to treating HG, other than simply addressing the physical symptoms. She believes HG patients must go through a mental health assessment and receive mental health support.
The researchers did not find any direct link between severe morning sickness during pregnancy and maternal-infant bonding. However, previous studies have shown depression may have a significant negative impact on the maternal-infant bond. Researchers did not exclusively conclude that HG is the reason for depression during pregnancy, but the findings point to a strong link between the two.