PRENATAL DYSTHYMIA VERSUS MAJOR DEPRESSION EFFECTS ON MATERNAL CORTISOL AND FETAL GROWTH


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Abstract

To determine differences between pregnant women diagnosed with Dysthymia versus Major Depression, depressed pregnant women (N = 102) were divided by their diagnosis into Dysthymic (N = 48) and Major Depression (N = 54) groups and compared on self-report measures (depression, anxiety, anger, daily hassles and behavioral inhibition), on stress hormone levels (cortisol and norepinephrine), and on fetal measurements. The Major Depression group had more self-reported symptoms. However, the Dysthymic group had higher prenatal cortisol levels and lower fetal growth measurements (estimated weight, femur length, abdominal circumference) as measured at their first ultrasound (M = 18 weeks gestation). Thus, depressed pregnant women with Dysthymia and Major Depression appeared to have different prenatal symptoms.

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