The researchers discovered that one significant risk factor for pregnant women to experience depression in the later stages of their pregnancy is food insecurity or the lack of access to food.

There are a lot of emotions that come with being pregnant. You may occasionally get depression as well. When you experience constant sadness for several weeks or months throughout your pregnancy, it’s known as antenatal depression.

Pregnancy-related depression can impact women differently and range in severity. According to a recent study, a smartphone app may be able to identify whether a woman would experience sadness in the later stages of her pregnancy.

Researchers discovered a number of risk factors for developing depression by asking women to complete surveys during their first trimester. These risks included poor sleep quality and food poverty.

According to main author Tamar Krishnamurti, an associate professor of general internal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States, “we can ask people a small set of questions and get a good sense of whether they’ll become depressed,” as reported by news agency PTI.

Krishnamurti stated, “It’s surprising how many risk factors for depression in the future are things we can and should do something about. These include things like sleep quality, worries about labor and delivery, and, most importantly, access to food.”

The researchers suggest that early detection of depression in pregnant women may assist customize preventative therapy and provide support to address underlying reasons.

In order to conduct the study, the researchers examined the survey replies of 944 expectant mothers who did not have a history of depression and who used the app as part of a bigger investigation.

The women answered questionnaires on stress and depressive symptoms, as well as demographics and medical history, during the first trimester of their pregnancy.

A portion of the 944 women additionally answered optional questions about socioeconomic determinants of health, such food insecurity. Every trimester, a depression screening was conducted for all women.

Using all the data, the researchers created six machine-learning models. The most accurate one was shown to be 89% accurate in foretelling depression in expectant mothers. An artificial intelligence system that learns from historical data to provide predictions is called a machine learning algorithm.

Including the answers to the optional questions about social variables associated to health increased the model’s accuracy to 93%.

They discovered that one significant risk factor for pregnant women to experience depression in the later stages of their pregnancy is food insecurity, or the inability to get food.

Currently, the researchers are creating strategies for incorporating these survey questions into clinical settings and figuring out how doctors may talk to patients about their risk of depression in this way.