Crying frequently, feeling moody and tired… Are they familiar with the way you feel during pregnancy? So you may be struggling with pregnancy depression and it is the time to take an action. This is why, we will be going deeper into this dark mood of pregnancy to give you a hand to cope with these feeling.
You might have stressful times when you were searching the ways of how to get pregnant. It may not be over once you get pregnant. You might feel depression during or after pregnancy as well
Stress, anxiety, mood swings, constant feeling like crying, staying away from social interactions are the main signals of pregnancy depression. If you think you feel this way, you should know that you are not alone as between 14 and 23 percent of women experience some symptoms of pregnancy depression.
Yes, it is highly common among pregnant people, but it is not very easy to get rid of. The common idea says that the pregnancy is the happiest time of the life. But, emotions during pregnancy are not in the positive direction all the time. There are many women who do not feel very attached to the baby inside as a result of these hard feelings. Stop blaming yourself if you feel this way, as well.
Here are 10 questions and answers you may wonder to clear your mind about pregnancy depression. Do not forget that knowledge is the best and healthiest way to relax.
What is pregnancy depression?
Depression is a type of mood disorder resulting feeling sad and hopeless. When you suffer from depression, it possible takes the control of your thoughts, your viewpoint, your eating routine and sleep routine. Pregnancy depression means basically undergoing depression during pregnancy.
When you get pregnancy, your body changes a lot, which is mostly related to hormonal shifts. These shifts influence your mood directly and may cause pregnancy depression. Depression is an illness, rather than a choice or simple bad feelings. It requires regular treatment.
What are the symptoms of depression?
Pregnancy depression can sometimes be difficult to realize because fatigue and sleeping or eating disorders are pretty normal and common during pregnancy. However, in case of depression, your fatigue may be accompanied by a sense of sadness and hopelessness, and less interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy. Depression may result in losing control of your own daily life routines.
Here are the most common symptoms of pregnancy depression:
- Losing interest in daily activities,
- Feeling sad most of time,
- Decreased interest in the world around you,
- Feeling like crying very often,
- Poor concentration,
- Feeling fatigue despite having rest,
- Disorder in eating and sleeping routines,
- Appetite changes,
- Feeling of guilt, worthlessness or hopelessness
- Thoughts of suicide etc.
If you think you experience some of these symptoms, talk to your doctor or therapist. Only a professional can diagnose pregnancy depression.
Are you at high risk for depression?
Depression is related to many factors including family history, personal history of depression or anxiety, life stress etc. During pregnancy, factors increase accordingly. For example, unplanned pregnancy can be stressful as you feel like you are not ready. This increases your risk of depression.
Also, pregnancy is a period when you are getting ready for a big change in your life. This is the beginning of your parenthood. You can feel lost or think that you may not handle parenthood. All these changes can be a reason for lifting effect of the factors related to pregnancy depression.
These are risk factors for depression to be more precise:
- A personal or family history of mood disorder,
- A history of premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Being a young or old mother
- Having poor social support
- Living alone
- Conflict in relationship among parents
- Being divorced, widowed, or separated
- Having experienced traumatic or stressful recently
- Feeling ambivalent about being pregnant
- Pregnancy complications
- Having a low income
- Having more than three children
What to do in case of pregnancy depression?
Many women feel ashamed of feeling bad during pregnancy. But these feelings do not mean you do not want the baby or you are going to be a bad mom. They are just normal and usual. So first things to do are not blaming yourself and accepting professional help to cope with pregnancy depression.
Do not suppress your feelings whether they are positive or negative. They are all a part of your pregnancy. If you feel that you cannot deal with some of them on your own, professionals can show and teach you how to do that. You do not have to welcome all the intrusive thoughts, but can learn to manage them.
Can pregnancy depression be treated and how?
People suffering from pregnancy depression typically think that their situation is horrible and insoluble. This thought brings hopelessness and despondency. Whenever you feel this way, remind yourself that this is not the truth! There are various ways to treat depression during pregnancy through therapy and/or medication.
Just be open and honest to your caregivers about your feelings so that they can treat you in the most convenient way. There are different treatment options to manage depression such as psychotherapy and/or medication. If you were already taking medication for depression when your pregnancy started, stop taking it and talk to your doctor first.
Psychotherapy is one the most common ways to treat depression. Therapy with a skilled therapist teaches new approaches to managing thoughts and emotions.
Nutrition is also very effective to get rid of depression. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are found in foods such as oily fish and walnuts, and can help you feel better.
Does pregnancy depression harm the baby?
If your depression is not treated, your baby may be born before the expected day or have a low birth weight. Also low APGAR score which rates a newborn’s health after delivery, poor adaptation outside the womb are other risks in case of pregnancy depression.
Untreated depression can lead to poor nutrition, drinking, smoking, and suicidal behavior, which can then cause premature birth, low birth weight, and developmental problems. A woman who is depressed often does not have the strength or desire to adequately care for herself or her developing baby.
Is it safe to take antidepressants during pregnancy?
It is safe to take certain antidepressants during pregnancy, but others may be risky. There is no one single answer for this question.
The risks involved with taking an antidepressant are small and vary depending on the medication, the dose, and how long you take it. For example, if you take antidepressants in your third trimester, your baby may experience withdrawal at birth.
What you are supposed to do is to apply a professional before taking antidepressants.
How to prevent pregnancy depression?
In order to prevent pregnancy depression, the best thing to do communicating people you feel good with. Open your feelings up to the people you trust. If you experienced previous loss or stressful life events, don’t take risk and just see a therapist.
There is no single emotion you need to be ashamed. To prevent depression, do not hesitate to talk about your anger, fear or anxiety with your partner or friends. If it is a little hard, have a therapist to share them.
Also, what you eat is related to how you feel. Try to feed yourself healthy and enough. Here is detailed information about pregnancy food for best nutrition. And doing regular exercise helps you alleviate your emotional easiness.
What is postpartum depression (PPD)?
Postpartum depression or PPD is developed during the first four to six weeks after giving birth. However, you may start undergoing symptoms before birth. Like depression before or during pregnancy, PPD is probably the result of a combination of hormonal, environmental, and genetic factors.
When is the right time to call the doctor?
Right time to call your doctor is when you think you are undergoing a few symptoms of depression during pregnancy. Especially if you are unable to handle your daily life and responsibilities and have no energy to enjoy what you have enjoyed before, it is the right time for applying an expert.
Feeling extreme worry or fear is not expected during or after pregnancy, even though to some extend you may feel anxious. If it is too much to cope with, you have no reason for waiting longer.
If you feel your emotions are hard to deal with, do not wait long for visiting your doctor or therapist. Pregnancy period is when you need to learn about your body and emotions. You can join my online courses that are combining my academic knowledge with the experience of my patients. To review the free courses please click here.