Women's Health

Depression during Pregnancy

​​​​​​​​​Depression during Pregnancy

Some women experience depression and anxiety for the first time in their lives during pregnancy and it is common, as it affects about 1 in 10 pregnant women.

Signs of depression during pregnancy:
Signs of depression can seem like the normal ups and downs of pregnancy, but it's important to know the signs of depression:
  • Depressed mood most of the day (almost daily).
  • Loss of interest in work or other activities.
  • Feelings of guilt, despair, or worthlessness.
  • Sleeping more than usual or having trouble sleeping.
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss, or eating more than usual and gaining weight.
  • Feeling very tired or lack of energy.
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing, or making decisions.
  • Feeling anxious in a way that others notice.
  • Thinking of death or suicide.
When to see a doctor:
  • When noticing any of the previous signs for at least two weeks.
  • When having a previous depression, or when taking medications to treat depression.
  • When thinking of death or suicide.
Effect of untreated depression during pregnancy:
Women with severe depression during pregnancy may have difficulty taking care of themselves. They may not eat healthily, go for antenatal care check-ups, or get enough rest. Untreated depression during pregnancy also increases the risk of postpartum depression. Depression during pregnancy has also been linked to several problems, including:
  • The fetus does not grow well in the womb
  • Going into labor too early
  • The child is very small at birth
  • Health complications for the child after birth
  • Also, when depression is not treated during pregnancy, it can increase the risk of problems for the baby:
  • A newborn baby may cry more and be difficult to calm down.
  • Older children may have more emotional and behavioral problems than other children.
Treating depression during pregnancy:
Treatment for depression may include psychotherapy (talk therapy), antidepressant medication, or a combination of both. Many women also find that self-care (e.g. sleeping, healthy eating, light exercise) and family support can help with depression.

Antidepressants and their effect on pregnancy:
Antidepressants may be prescribed by a doctor to treat depression, as they work to balance chemicals in the brain that affect mood. There are risks of not treating mental health conditions during and after pregnancy, so treating depression can help the mother and the health of the child in future. It may be safe to take other antidepressants during pregnancy. The best medication can be discussed with your doctor.

Last Update : 07 June 2023 02:27 PM
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