Pregnancy and depression
Pregnancy is one of the joyful period for women, but many feel stressed and confused at this time. If this fear and stress continue it may also lead to depression. Depression also referred as mood disorder affects most of the women at some stage during their lifetime. Depression touches women during and after pregnancy and both the types are different. The depression that comes post pregnancy is known as postpartum depression (PDD) and during pregnancy is called antepartum depression. Most of them think this is a kind of hormonal change and often ignore the symptoms of depression. This can pose a danger to both the mother and fetus.
Women are more likely to get depressed during pregnancy as there would be a lot of hormonal changes. This in return will alter the brain chemistry leading to mood disorder. Pregnant women with depression may experience the following symptoms for two or more weeks:
- Difficulty in focusing
- Inadequate or too much sleep
- Lose interest in daily routine
- Changes in food habit
- Suicidal thoughts
It’s quite tricky to find out depression in pregnant women as both pregnancy and depression share the same symptoms like loss of appetite, inadequate sleep, high and low energy levels. Constant monitoring of the mood elevation and other symptoms can help diagnose this condition early.
Depression can be triggered due to relationship problems, previous depression history, infertility medicines and treatments, traumatic life events, previous pregnancy loss and abortion. Previous stressful and traumatic life events can be the primary cause of depression. Further, women with a previous depression history are more prone to mood disorder during pregnancy.
Pregnancy depression and baby’s health
Depressed women will lose interest in eating, which may lead to the birth of premature and underweight babies. The babies born would be less active and will be more agitated than the normal babies. Also, if depression is untreated you may develop postpartum depression, making it very hard for you to manage the baby. Maintaining a bond with the baby is essential and mother care is necessary for the baby during this period. So it’s important to seek help to treat depression.
Depression treatment during pregnancy
Counseling or talk therapy: You can speak to well trained and qualified counselor about your problems. They will understand your feelings and teach how to handle this tough scenario.
Medicines: The condition can be treated with antidepressants. Consult your doctor to get more information about these pills. Some research shows that antidepressant can harm your unborn baby, however not taking it may also pose problems both to you and your baby. Your doctor will be the right person to guide you in this regard.
Find a support group, where people with similar problems meet and discuss online the issues faced by them. Check with your counsellors to identify such groups. Sometimes, ECT or electroconvulsive therapy is recommended for severe cases. This treatment is safe and it’s essential to treat severe depression.
Treatment during pregnancy will be decided by your doctor considering your current condition. If you stop taking medicines, depression might come back at the same time antidepressants will have effects on the unborn baby. Talk to your doctor and decide together whether to take medicines or not.