Depression is one of the mental conditions that many pregnant women have gone through. Research showed that almost 33% of expectant mothers’ experience clinical depression during pregnancy. The good thing is that there are many ways to help people cope with such mental condition and make their pregnancy less stressful.
What is depression?
Before going further, it makes sense to understand what depression is and how it affects a pregnant woman. Depression is a mood disorder that makes someone feels sad and hopeless. This condition when not addressed properly may last for months.
Depression affects how a person thinks and acts. The condition may aggravate due to the hormonal changes throughout the pregnancy period. Coping with depression during pregnancy can be difficult because most likely the person is reluctant to admit the condition.
Clinical depression may go away on its own, but it’s recommended to seek for help so that it won’t greatly affect your pregnancy.
Symptoms of depression
Determining the symptoms of depression during pregnancy is quite tricky. It’s because some symptoms are similar with the symptoms of pregnancy that includes changes in sleep, concentration, energy levels, and appetite.
A pregnant woman may likely be depressed if she has been experiencing the following symptoms for several weeks:
- Feeling sad most of the day
- Losing interest in doing daily activities
- Feeling extremely agitated or irritated
- Crying most of the time
- Feeling anxious
- Difficulty to focus
- Feeling of extreme fatigue or having low energy
- Experiencing overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt
- Experiencing changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Feeling of worthlessness
Why Pregnant Women are at High Risk for Depression?
Anyone may experience depression at some point in life. But, it’s very common to happen to pregnant women especially those having their first baby. This mood condition is caused by different factors such as:
Personal history of depression
If a person has history of depression during the previous pregnancy, there’s great possibility to experience it again. Likewise, she’s also at higher risk of experiencing postpartum psychosis.
Another factor that causes depression during pregnancy is when both parties were unprepared for the situation. This can make the pregnancy stressful, thus higher risk of developing depression.
There are times when stressful events come along the way such as ending a relationship, financial problems, a job loss, death of a family member or a close friend. These events may trigger depression when not addressed properly.
Lack of support
Being alone throughout the course of pregnancy will make you feel isolated and make you vulnerable to develop depression. Likewise, relationship problems with an unsupportive partner may also lead to depression.
A pregnant woman who experiences emotional abuse and domestic violence has higher chance of developing depression during pregnancy. In this case, it’s important to seek help to ensure that both you and your baby are safe.
If you’re experiencing depression during pregnancy, you should talk to your healthcare provider. It can be difficult to discuss about mental health problems, but you’re not alone feeling that way.
Treatment for depression during pregnancy
There are different options to treat depression such as medication, psychotherapy, or both. There’s nothing to worry about taking medications while pregnant because your provider knows what’s best for you.
Likewise, you should not stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor. The condition may get worse and untreated depression greatly affects the pregnancy and the development of the baby. That’s why it’s essential to seek immediate help to avoid aggravating the condition.
How does depression affect the baby?
If depression is not treated properly, it may negatively impact the baby having low birth weight or being born prematurely. Research showed that if the mother suffers from depression while pregnant, there’s higher possibility that the baby is more irritable and cry more.
Finding support when you’re having depression while you’re pregnant is the best way to cope with the condition. Hiding it with yourself won’t help, but rather make the condition get worse and eventually affect the baby.