Posttraumatic stress disorder and a major depression incidence might increase of preterm births, a new research says.

By Vishakha Sonawane

Intellectual development in preemies catches up by adolescence. (Photo : Reuters)

Intellectual development in preemies catches up by adolescence. (Photo : Reuters)

Post traumatic stress disorder and a major depression incidence might increase chances of preterm births, a new research says.

For the study, researchers looked in to the data of 2,654 pregnant women. The participants were recruited before 17 weeks’ gestation. The research team assessed for symptoms of PTSD, major episodes of depression and the use of various medications or more specifically benzodiazepine- a psychoactive medication that can treat various health issues. Preterm birth was defined as before 37 weeks of gestation.

According to the study analysis, researchers found that 4.9 percent of the participants showed symptoms associated with PTSD. Moreover, this risk increased by 1 to 12 percent with each one-point increase of PTSD symptoms.

The team found that pregnant women with both PTSD and major depressive episodes were at the highest risk for delivering preterm. In fact, findings showed that this risk quadrupled. Some serotonin reuptake inhibitors and benzodiazepine medications were also more likely to cause preterm delivery.

“The risk appears independent of antidepressant or benzodiazepine use and is not simply a function of mood or anxiety symptoms. Further exploration of the biological and genetic factors will help risk-stratify patients and illuminate the pathways leading to this risk,” researchers said in a press release.

Preterm births are linked to most infant deaths. Clinicians and patients are concerned about the risks associated with psychiatric illness during pregnancy and the medications used for treatment.

recent study on pregnancy showed that short intervals between pregnancies results in decreased pregnancy length altogether. Researchers then cautioned that women should be counseled on the importance of optimal birth space, especially for reducing preterm birth rates.

A study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

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