COPING with pregnancy depression

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Several researches done over time estimate that at least one in 10 pregnant women develops some degree of prenatal depression. The findings reveal that women are more likely to be more depressed when pregnant than after the baby is born. Pregnancy depression often presents minor symptoms unlike full-blown diagnostic depression.

In many instances, hormones are often blamed for many of the mood swings and other emotional and psychological happenings in pregnancy. However, the truth is that they are only one part of the causes when it comes to pregnancy and depression. There are moments when one may get depressed despite having planned for the pregnancy. Pregnancy depression may be more evident if the pregnancy is complicated or unplanned.

Identifying the signs…

Some of the signs of depression in pregnancy could range from anxiety, irritability, unexplainable sadness, suicidal thoughts, and problems with sleeping and concentrating, changes in eating habits and/or a feeling of rejection.

There is no clear cause of pregnancy depression but some of the tentative causes include: hormonal changes, a history of anxiety or depression, a previous miscarriage or still birth, stress in the relationship, lack of support from family or friends, or a past trauma or concern about the future. Other causes could be psychological or social. It’s worth noting that pregnancy depression can happen to any woman regardless of her personal circumstances.

Other known stress causing factors are sometimes brought on simply because of the changes that pregnancy potentially brings like moving to a new house or apartment to increase space or to have a more baby-friendly environment. Sometimes this might mean career changes for one or both parents. These things typically cause stress and depression and are frequent occurrences in pregnancy.

There are dangers of pregnancy depression, which can negatively impact on prenatal care, particularly on the mother’s feeding and sleeping habits. A number of pregnant women suffering depression start smoking cigarettes or alcohol abuse as a cover up. Some may even contemplate suicide and abortion, while others report the feeling of disassociation with the baby.

Unfortunately, many of the signs of prenatal depression imitate pregnancy symptoms. For example, it can be hard to distinguish between normal pregnancy associated fatigue and loss of appetite and that of depression. This is the reason such telling symptoms go unreported.

On the other hand, a majority of women simply ignore depression in pregnancy because it is supposed to be a joyous time in life. Doctors treat prenatal depression as an emergency to reduce the risk of developing postpartum depression. This is because research indicates that fifty percent of women who experience depression during pregnancy also experience depression after delivery.

Deal with pregnancy depression…

Treatment during pregnancy involves several methods. The first and most important step is to develop a good support network of people who are positive, as this will be extremely valuable to you. It is better if you get people who have been through the same path of pregnancy depression as they will be more practical in their counsel.

Another method is talking to a professional or a psychotherapist. This is important because of the major changes going on during pregnancy. Medication can also be used during pregnancy under the care of a doctor who has experience with using antidepressants and other medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The solution to preventing problems that stem from depression in pregnancy, which may also increase the likelihood of postpartum depression, is getting the support and help you need as soon as you realise you are experiencing a problem. With more than two out of three pregnant women having depressive symptoms it is important to recognise that you are not alone and that help is available. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you are in need of help or reach out to organisations dealing with depression and pregnancy conditions.

Published on February 2013

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