14 to 23% of pregnant women experience depression at some point in their pregnancy, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) (1).
The surge of hormones causes your emotions to rise and fall. You may tend to cry and laugh at the drop of a hat, thanks to your stressed reproductive system that is busy prepping the womb.
But if you find yourself blue all the time, it is possible that you might be depressed. Depression during pregnancy is a reality, but it can be tackled.
MumCorner tells you about depression during pregnancy, how it can affect you and how you can deal with it.
Depression During Pregnancy: What Is It?
Depression during pregnancy or antepartum depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you think, feel and act. It causes a feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that can last long and interfere with your everyday routine. These feelings could range from mild to severe, and may eventually wane over time with treatment.
While some pregnant women get better within a year, others tend to feel better only after the delivery. So, if you start to feel way too low and moody, consult your doctor about it. When you are pregnant, both your physical and emotional health is equally important.
Does Depression Affect Your Pregnancy And The Baby?
Depression during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, affect fetal growth and increase the chances of premature deliveries and low birth weight in babies. When left untreated, depression can develop into a postpartum depression that could last for months and years affecting your health and bonding with the baby (3).
Exposure to maternal depression would lead to long-term effects in children, although that depends on their age. Babies could develop separation anxiety after birth and may have difficulty interacting with their mother, developing skills and being active.
So how do you know you’re depressed?
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression?
The symptoms of depression can be subtle or severe. Most people mistake clinical depression for general moodiness that passes with time. Also, depression could usually result in normal changes such as trouble sleeping or fatigue, which could also be due to pregnancy.
But if you have any of the following symptoms that last for more than two weeks, it could be a sign of depression (4).
Changes in your feelings:
- Persistent emptiness or sadness
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, guilty or helpless
- Getting irritated, anxious, angry or frustrated easily
- Crying all the time
Changes in your body:
Lacking energy and feeling fatigued all the time
Headaches, stomachaches, and other persistent symptoms
Changes in your daily life:
- Eating too much or too little
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Having trouble in making decisions, concentrating and focusing
- Memory problems
- Losing interest in activities you usually like
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- These negative emotions can result from various reasons, both physical and psychological.