Women war veterans prone to mental health problems during pregnancy

Washington, Dec 22 (ANI): A new study has revealed that the stress associated with military service in a war zone may later contribute to an increased risk of mental health problems if a woman veteran becomes pregnant.

Pregnancy among women veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan appears to increase their risk for mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Because the hormonal and physiological changes that accompany pregnancy can bring on or worsen various mental health conditions, it is important to understand the effects of military service on a pregnant woman's mental health status and how it might affect pregnancy outcomes.

Kristin Mattocks of the Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven, CT) and colleagues reviewed the records of more than 43,000 women veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and completed their military service between 2001 and 2008.

The authors emphasized the importance of identifying and providing appropriate diagnostic and treatment services for this at-risk population.

"With the increased number of women serving in the military, it is important that we understand their unique health issues such as mental health problems during pregnancy," said Susan G. Kornstein, executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA.

The study is published online in Journal of Women's Health. (ANI)

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