If you’re expecting a child, You’ve probably heard about postpartum depression. But did you know that many women also suffer from depression while carrying a baby?
This is called “Prenatal Depression.” Extreme or persistent sadness, anxiety, worry, fatigue, and changes in sleeping and eating patterns are all symptoms of depression. Prenatal depression can lead to people harming themselves or their babies in severe circumstances. Depression help includes mental-health-based counseling, psychotherapy & medications.
What is Prenatal Depression?
Prenatal depression can arise at any point in the pregnancy. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a type of depression that occurs after the birth of a child. It’s vital to differentiate between prenatal & postpartum depression and the “baby blues.” Within two to three weeks, the “baby blues” normally pass. Prenatal and postpartum depression, on the other hand, do not go away without treatment.
Depression symptoms can occasionally be alleviated by altering one’s lifestyle. But if they don’t, professionals treat this condition with therapy and medications. You are not alone if you are experiencing prenatal depression. Prenatal Depression is very common. More than one in 10 pregnant women (13%) experienced depression. According to some analysts, the percentage might be significantly higher.
Why does it go unrecognized during pregnancy?
Some of the symptoms such as changes in sleep, energy level, appetite, and libido of depression are similar to those of pregnancy. As a result, the individual or doctor may mistakenly blame these symptoms on your pregnancy rather than depression.
Due to the stigma associated with depression, women may be hesitant to discuss changes in moods during pregnancy with their health care providers. There’s also a tendency to focus on women’s physical health rather than mental health during pregnancy for a healthy baby.
Risk factors for depression during pregnancy?
The following are some of the risk factors for depression during pregnancy:
- Depression history.
- Life stress.
- Lack of social support.
- Unwanted pregnancy.
- Abuse or Violence.
Everyone experiences sadness, anxiety, or worry from time to time. It’s natural to have these feelings now and then, especially during pregnancy. However, the symptoms of depression do not go away after a few days. They might continue for weeks or months, and they can get worse as time goes on. Depression can manifest itself in a variety of ways during pregnancy, including:
- Anxiety, excessively worrying, and irrational thinking
- Appetite changes and weight loss or increase that are unexplained (not due to pregnancy).
- Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy. Alternatively, withdrawing or isolating self from friends, family, and social contacts.
- Fatigue, sleeping more than usual, or trouble falling or keeping asleep (insomnia).
- Sadness, hopelessness, numbness, “emptiness,” or guilt feelings.
- Irritability, sobbing incessantly, or other mood changes or swings.
- A lack of desire for sex and trouble bonding with your partner.
- Physical symptoms that aren’t caused by a medical ailment or another factor. These may include muscle aches, headaches, and gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
- Difficulties concentrating, recalling information, reasoning, or making judgments.
People with this illness may have suicidal thoughts or consider killing themselves or their unborn child in severe circumstances. If you experience suicidal or self-harming thoughts, PLEASE REACHOUT FOR HELP IMMEDIATELY.
The Risks of Not Treating Depression
It’s critical to address and treat your depression. If you don’t get help for your depression, it could get worse, causing harm to both you and your baby. If left unattended, depression can lead to:
- You eating poorly.
- You not gaining enough weight to offer appropriate nutrients to the baby.
- You skipping essential prenatal visits.
- You abusing substances, causing major difficulties for the baby.
- You experiencing distress during pregnancy & delivery.
- You giving a premature birth or having a baby with low birth weight.
Treatments for pre-natal depression:
Treatment will depend based on the intensity and duration of the depression. Psychotherapy, such as interpersonal therapy and cognitive-based therapy (CBT), and/or antidepressant drugs may be used depending on the degree of your depression.
If you’re thinking about taking an antidepressant, talk to your concerned doctor about the hazards. While antidepressants are frequently rated safe for use during pregnancy, you should be aware of any potential side effects.
Integrated treatment models, which combine psychotherapy and other modalities, are frequently the most effective when treating prenatal depression. Individual and group therapy sessions, for example, can help expectant mothers who require one-on-one attention and social support. Exercise, bright light therapy, yoga, and other alternative remedies can all be used in conjunction with treatment.
Screening for Depression During Pregnancy?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that at least once during pregnancy, health care practitioners assess for depression and anxiety using a standardised test. Your health care practitioner will most likely ask you questions from a standardised screening questionnaire, which includes questions about your mood and anxiety. Your responses are assessed, and the total of your results can be used to determine if you are depressed. Alternatively, your health care provider may inquire if you have felt down, depressed, or hopeless in the previous month, or if you have lost interest in doing things.
There is limited evidence that prenatal depression screening and treatment improves outcomes. This could be related to differences in resources and treatment options available once depression has been diagnosed. Screening for depression during pregnancy, on the other hand, may give you some insight into your risk of depression and anxiety.
Don’t wait for a screening if you suspect you could be depressed during your pregnancy. Talk to your mental health care provider or a psychologist about how you’re feeling and work with him or her to figure out what to do next.
You might want to try some other things in addition to and taking depression counseling that will help you feel better. Consider the following:
- If at all possible, get a good night’s sleep.
- Remember that you don’t have to be all things to all people; allow yourself to say NO.
- Ask your partner, family, and friends for assistance.
- Set out time for yourself by engaging in activities that you enjoy.
- Speak with other mothers who have gone through similar experiences.
- To cope with your thoughts and feelings, consider attending a support group.
- Seek emergency care right away if you ever feel like you might hurt yourself or your unborn child.
You’re not alone!
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