Many women who have high blood pressure prior to pregnancy also have other risk factors, including health conditions such as diabetes and obesity, noted Katon. "Depression can make adherence to interventions, such as diet, exercise and medication, for these conditions low, further putting the mother's health at risk."
The researchers noted that they did not control for obesity, which is linked to both hypertension and depression. "Obesity is an increasing problem in pregnant women and targeting these women for more intensive counseling could be a cost-effective way of reducing the risk of depression during pregnancy," commented Ernest Graham, M.D., a gynecologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md.
"To my knowledge, very few obstetricians do any formal screening for depression during prenatal check-ups," said Katon. "They do screen for hypertension. In women with pre-existing hypertension, it is essential to screen for depression at the four month checkup, given the risk of negative birth outcomes and non-adherence to hypertension treatment."
Source: General Health Psychiatry