Pregnancy and Depression
You’ve had a rough first trimester. Just when everyone told you things would get better, you find yourself down in the dumps, extremely tired, and feeling like an emotional train wreck. You wonder if it is the hormones. You worry that right now, when you should be feeling elated and happy, your feelings of depression are a sign that something is wrong with you. And if you are like the hundreds of thousands of women who suffer through pregnancy with depression, you keep your feelings to yourself worried about being shamed by others.
Pregnancy and depression often go hand-in-hand. Around 1 out of 10 women suffer from depression during pregnancy. And recent research shows that the sudden surges and changes in hormones that occur throughout pregnancy, can and do in fact alter brain chemistry, which can bring on full bouts of depression.
Women who have had fertility issues or who endure fertility treatments are 10 times more likely to have depression during pregnancy. For women who have suffered with mental illness, anxiety or depression prior to pregnancy, the risk of depression darkening pregnancy is higher. Troubled relationships, family history of depression or mental illness, history of miscarriage and a high-risk pregnancy can also lead to depression during pregnancy.
One of the problems is that most people write off their mood swings or emotional instability to hormones or cliché moodiness in pregnancy, when the reality is that they are suffering from real depression. If you have depression, you might experience some of the following symptoms. Experts say if you’ve experienced three or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks, you should talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should see a therapist:
- A sense that nothing feels enjoyable or fun anymore
- Feeling blue, sad, or “empty” for most of the day, every day
- It’s harder to concentrate
- Extreme irritability or agitation or excessive crying
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping all the time
- Extreme or never-ending fatigue
- A desire to eat all the time or not wanting to eat at all
- Inappropriate guilt or feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
Finally, mood swings with cycles of depression alternating with periods of an abnormally high spirits — including increased activity, little need to sleep or eat, racing thoughts, inappropriate social behavior, or poor judgment — are signs of a serious condition called bipolar disorder, which requires immediate attention.
While anxiety is normal during pregnancy, if your anxiety becomes too much to bear – or interferes with your ability to do routine things in your life, you should contact a healthcare provider as well.
The most important thing to realize is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There is no reason to live in shame, or to hide your feelings from others just because you are pregnant. If you talk to your healthcare provider, and your loved ones you will find that you can gain some resolution and hopefully, some peace. The good news is that pregnancy induced depression, when treated, most often dissipates within the first 12 months of having your baby.
Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @Momspirational
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.