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Depression during pregnancy, or antepartum depression, affects 10-20% of women, and 25-50% of these women will suffer from major depression.  Antepartum depression, just like clinical depression, is a mood disorder.   It affects not only your mood and thoughts but your physical body as well.  Because of all the hormone changes during pregnancy and the mood swings women often experience it isn’t uncommon for depression to go unnoticed or undiagnosed.  Many women, their partners, and their health care providers may just attribute the mood changes to pregnancy hormones and leave it at that.  Depression during pregnancy can cause harm to both mother and baby so it should not be left untreated.  If you think you might be suffering from depression during your pregnancy be sure to talk to your health care provider.

So what are the signs of depression?  You may have depression if you experience some of the following for more than 2 weeks.

  • Persistent sadness
  • Loss of concentration
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities
  • Recurring thoughts of death, suicide or hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilty or worthlessness
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Loss of energy

Women with a personal or family history of depression are at greater risk of suffering from depression during pregnancy, however, there are other risk factors as well, including:

  • Problems in your relationship with your spouse or partner
  • You had infertility treatments to conceive the pregnancy
  • Prior loss of pregnancy
  • Stressful life events
  • Pregnancy complications
  • A history of trauma or abuse

As stated earlier, depression during pregnancy can cause harm to both the mother and the baby if left untreated.  There are many treatment options available to women.  Talk to your health care provider about your options and choose a treatment plan that works best for you.  Some of your treatment options include:

  • Private psychotherapy
  • Support groups
  • Medication

There are medications that have been used during pregnancy with no adverse effects.  Talk to your doctor about what, if any medications are right for you.  You may want to try talk therapy first, or your depression may be severe enough to warrant immediately going on anti-depressants.  It is a good idea to involve the health care provider who is treating during your pregnancy, your therapist, and even your child’s future pediatrician in your care.  By involving all parties you can ensure the best treatment for you with the best outcome for both you and your baby.

The most important thing is to talk to someone about your symptoms and how you are feeling.  If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your doctor find someone who you trust and who can help you.  The longer your depression goes untreated the bigger the risk to you and your baby.

Sources and other helpful websites:

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One Response to Pregnancy and Depression

  • I had been formally clinically determined to have that during the past year. In reality i have had the following problem because entry into the world and consequently I have battled everything my well being.

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