While pregnancy is most of the times an event that brings great joy to future parents, sometimes the hormonal changes that happen in the body of a woman can lead to various medical illnesses, among which is also depression. A study conducted by a team of scientists at Western and Brescia University College has brought to our attention that pregnant women who suffer from depression are more likely to abuse substances.
To experiment, the researchers examined data from over 25,000 pregnant women from Ontario. It is worth mentioning that this data had already been collected by the London Health Sciences Centre between the years 2009 and 2014.
These women were asked questions such as whether they were receiving any medication for depression or whether they were abusing substances while pregnant.
What the authors of the study uncovered after analyzing the health and geographical information of these subjects is that the women that suffered from depression while pregnant were 2.6 times more likely to abuse substances such as marijuana.
Depression During Pregnancy Is The Main Cause Of Substance Abuse
Also, depression during pregnancy made pregnant women be three times more likely to smoke and drink alcoholic beverages in comparison with the women that did not suffer from depression while pregnant. Also, depression had a higher risk of abuse of substances than any other factors, such as education, income, or age.
The main goal of the study was to find out what triggered the substance abuse in pregnant women in the first place as it is common knowledge that smoking, alcohol, and drugs are correlated with birth complications, especially for the newborns.
It was discovered that alcohol consumption during pregnancy leads to pre-term births and smoking is associated not only pre-term birth but also low birth weight in newborns. The effects of cannabis in pregnancy are still studied.
A solution to this problem might be programs focused on mental health support for pregnant women. Also, psychotherapy and appropriate medication issued by physicians are methods that can lead to a proper and healthy pregnancy.