If you're expecting, you've already heard about postpartum depression. But
did you know so many women suffer from depression during their pregnancy?
Here's what you need to learn about depression and pregnancy.
When you're pregnant, it's normal to feel emotional. However, if you are
feeling stressed more than content, you might be suffering from antenatal
Antenatal depression is described as depression that occurs during
pregnancy. It is one of the most prevalent medical issues associated with
pregnancy. It affects about 7% of pregnant women. This is higher now with
the ongoing COVID pandemic with reports up to 1 out 3 women reporting
Depression Symptoms During Pregnancy
It can be difficult to diagnose mood conditions during pregnancy because
any signs can correlate with pregnancy symptoms, such as changes in
appetite, energy levels, focus, or sleep. It's just natural to be concerned
about the pregnancy's wellbeing. However, if you have chronic symptoms of
depression or anxiety that prolong up to two weeks,
especially if you cannot function normally, immediately seek treatment.
Depression symptoms during pregnancy include:
You may be depressed, helpless, "empty," and usually dissatisfied.
You're no longer interested in the activities you used to love.
You cry a lot.
Loss of curiosity in the world around you.
You are having difficulty recalling information, focusing, or
You have feelings of guilt.
You are having persistent headaches, digestive problems, or other
aches and pains.
A feeling of worthlessness
Inability to concentrate
Anxiety, irritability or rage
Yes, depression during pregnancy can affect both mother
and the baby. Some women avoid seeking care for pregnancy depression due to
stigma, fear, or guilt, or possibly because they believe their depression
symptoms are "usual" pregnancy effects that will go away on their own.
Depression during pregnancy increases your risk for the following:
Difficulties in childbirth
Studies indicate that untreated or inadequately treated depression may
low birth weight
potentially gestational diabetes
in extreme situations, developmental delays in the infant
Baby's developmental issues
As your baby grows older, these issues will compound. Babies with moms who
were depressed during pregnancy are more likely to have developmental
difficulties and social problems, including aggression.
More chances of postpartum depression
There's also the possibility that your stress will continue after your
pregnancy is over. Being stressed and pregnant increases the chances of
developing postpartum depression. According to a study, about a
quarter of women with PPD first got depressive when pregnant.
Pregnancy Depression Treatments
Untreated depression during pregnancy may progress to postpartum depression
and anxiety disorders after your child is born. The good news is that there
are several recovery methods available to assist you in feeling better,
It is also known as talk therapy. Talking to a psychiatrist, psychologist
or licensed therapist, in person or virtually, will help you navigate the
difficulties of a major life transition to discover ways to cope.
Non-medication interventions will be enough for certain expectant mothers
to help treat depression that is mild. This includes counseling on a weekly
ongoing basis. This can also include group therapy led by a licensed
Most commonly used and most researched in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (
CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy.
Additional non-medical treatment can include:
It is a form of Chinese medicine that can trigger the release of feel-good
brain chemicals such as endorphins, which can help increase the mood as
well as relieve other pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness or back
Pregnancy exhaustion will exacerbate mood fluctuations, so make sure you're
getting adequate rest. When possible, go to bed early, sleep long, or have
Eat a nutrition and health diet that feeds your body, mind and soul.
Movement can improve mood. take a 20-30 minute walk .
Spend your time outside in nature.
It has been shown that being outdoors in nature reduces stress and
depressive symptoms. So, go on a stroll in the hills, a picnic in the park,
or a day at the beach.
If you have moderate or severe depression or no improvement of mild
depression, your doctor should prescribe antidepressants to manage your
depression more effectively. Pregnant women have several safe
choices, but the most commonly used are SSRIs
(selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), such as sertraline and
citalopram. They are the most widely used antidepressants for expectant
Speak to your healthcare provider more about these.
Untreated depression during pregnancy can have lasting effects. it is
important to recognize and get care for this medical issue during your
Taking action is the first step toward maintaining your mental
health and feeling stronger, as well as giving you and your baby the best
possible start together.
Contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your mental
health or you can schedule a virtual video consultation with our maternal
mental health specialist.
As always, use our text support for any general questions.