Pregnancy depression is a type of clinical depression that can occur during or after pregnancy. It affects approximately 10-15% of expecting and new mothers, making it one of the most common complications associated with childbirth.
Symptoms of Pregnancy Depression
Symptoms may include feelings of sadness and anxiety, changes in appetite, difficulty sleeping, social withdrawal and difficulty bonding with the baby. Treatment usually involves some combination of medications (such as antidepressants) and psychotherapy designed to help address underlying issues contributing to the depression. It is important for women to seek help if they are experiencing depressive symptoms as untreated depression can have serious long-term consequences on both mother and child.
Additionally, understanding risk factors for developing pregnancy depression can help women be aware of their own unique risks so that they can take the necessary steps to get help if needed. Common risk factors for developing pregnancy depression include a prior history of depression, marital/relationship issues, difficult life circumstances, lack of social support, substance abuse and postpartum blues. Other potential triggers can also contribute to the development of pre- or postnatal depression;
however it is important to note that anyone can develop this illness regardless of their risk factors. Therefore, it is important for expecting and new mothers to keep an open dialogue with their doctor so they can receive timely treatment should they start experiencing any symptoms associated with depression. By doing so, pregnant women are able to get the help they need in order to reduce the impact of this serious illness on both themselves and their child.
By addressing the symptoms of pregnancy depression, women can improve their overall mental health as well as that of their family. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms associated with pre- or postnatal depression, it is important to seek help from a qualified healthcare provider.
Treatment can make a big difference in improving both mother and baby's overall wellbeing. With the right care, expecting and new mothers can go on to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). (2020, January 14). Prenatal & Postpartum Mood Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Prenatal-and-Postpartum-Mood-Disorders
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2020, January 21). Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/pregnancy-postpartum-mood-disorders/index.shtml
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017, June 12). Pregnancy Depression: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/pregnancy-depression/art-20044312
American Psychological Association (APA). (2020, February 13). Pregnancy: Depression and Anxiety. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/pregnancy-depression-anxiety
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2019, June 19). Perinatal & Postpartum Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/perinatalmentalhealth.html
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. (n.d.). Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression: Tips for Mothers, Fathers and Providers. Retrieved from http://www.upmcmageewomenshospitalbirthcenterandfamilyhealthcenter.com/assets/pdfs/postpartum-depression-tips.pdf
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). (2018). Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health Conditions. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/your-stories/pregnancy-and-postpartum-mental-health-conditions
Postpartum Support International (PSI). (n.d.). Treatment: Prenatal and Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Disorders. Retrieved from http://www.postpartum.net/gethelp_treatmentoptions_depressionanxietydisorders_ppd_ppanxiety.asp
UK National Health Service (NHS).
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