Depression during pregnancy or antepartum depression is a relatively common occurrence and can be dealt with if the right steps are followed. One in every ten women faces this condition. Pregnant women who have been depressed before face a higher risk of suffering from depression again during this time.
The rapid increases in levels of pregnancy hormones at the beginning of a pregnancy and imbalance in brain chemistry make one prone to depression. This can pose risks for the mother and the baby. There is a range of treatments available such as therapy, support groups and medication.
What causes depression during pregnancy?
Estrogen and progesterone are two main hormones that could be the main culprits, as they are the hormones responsible for mood swings. There are two main variants of depressive disorder: mild and major. The mild variant is when the person can go about their day-to-day activities but they don’t feel good about themselves and don’t always function optimally. Major or clinical antepartum depression, a condition more severe, affects the person’s ability to work and go about daily activities.
What are the risks of depression during pregnancy?
If depression during pregnancy goes untreated, then both the pregnant mother and child can be at risk. Such risks include pre-eclampsia, poor weight gain, unhealthy eating habits, use of drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate, or even suicide. There has even been recent insights that this condition can be a factor causing asthma in children.
Mothers who suffer from depressive disorder are not capable of taking care of themselves and have difficulty bonding with their baby. Babies who are born to depressed mothers have an increased chance of being born prematurely or having low birth weight. These babies also have a tendency to be more irritable, relatively less active, and less attentive as compared to other babies.
Depression during pregnancy can be spotted by watching out for typical symptoms portrayed by the mom-to-be. She may be having trouble sleeping, sleeping too much, lacking interest, having feelings of guilt, showing loss of energy, having difficulty concentrating, showing changes in appetite, showing restlessness or contemplating ideas about suicide. It’s difficult to accurately diagnose the condition because the symptoms are very similar to what a normal pregnant woman may otherwise be feeling (otherwise known as the baby blues). But if the woman is feeling upset or showing the above symptoms for more than 2 weeks at a time, it would be wise to seek professional help. Medications and antidepressants may be prescribed by your doctor to treat the depressive mood disorder.
To help the pregnant mom-to-be keep the feelings of hopelessness at bay, the most essential thing a partner can do is to show love and support. Give her protective care and make her feel like the most special woman in the world. If you are the one suffering from the ailment, exercise is another way to keep yourself feeling active and healthy. Ask your physician about which exercises suit you best and work out every day for at least 30mins. Yoga is a good option as it relaxes the body as well as the mind. Reading positive books is another solution. Whether it’s a religious text or just something you like, they will help uplift your mood and keep you happy.
Keep in mind that antepartum depression is a cause of concern no matter how minor, and should be treated as soon as possible for the well-being of the baby and the pregnant mother. Consult your doctor about the best ways to overcome depression during pregnancy or antepartum depressive disorder in a manner that is healthy and suits your body.