Hyperemesis gravidarum and the risk of emotional distress during and after pregnancy

Helena Kames Kjeldgaard, Malin Eberhard-Gran, Jūratė Šaltytė Benth, Åse Vigdis Vikanes
Archives of Women's Mental Health 2017, 20 (6): 747-756
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a pregnancy condition characterised by severe nausea and vomiting. Previous studies have shown an association between HG and depressive symptoms during pregnancy, but little is known about the risk of maternal psychological distress following an HG pregnancy. The objective of the current study was therefore to assess the association between HG and emotional distress during and after pregnancy. This was a population-based pregnancy cohort study using data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. A total of 851/92,947 (0.9%) had HG. Emotional distress was measured by the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (SCL-5) in gestational weeks 17 and 32 and 6 and 18 months postpartum. The generalised estimating equations model was estimated for assessing time trends in emotional distress. Adjustments were made for previous HG, lifetime history of depression, maternal age, parity, BMI, smoking before pregnancy, physical activity, length of education, and pelvic girdle pain. Women with HG had higher odds for emotional distress than women without HG at the 17th (p < 0.001) and 32nd gestational weeks (p = 0.001) in addition to 6 months postpartum (p = 0.005) but not 18 months postpartum (p = 0.430). Adjusted odds for emotional distress varied significantly over time for women with and without HG (p = 0.035). Women with HG were more likely to report emotional distress compared to women without HG during pregnancy and 6 months postpartum, but the difference between the groups disappeared 18 months after birth. The results suggest that the increased risk of developing emotional distress may primarily be a consequence of HG.

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