Depression During Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

What Are The Causes Of Depression During Pregnancy?

Usually, a combination of factors, and not one, can increase your chances of depression.

  1. History of depression in the family: A genetic predisposition and family history can increase the chances of depression. You could be prone to clinical depression at any point in your life if you have a gene associated with it. When genetic factors are at play, you are more likely to develop it at a younger age.
  2. Personal history of depression: If you were clinically depressed due to other reasons (such as a miscarriage) in the past, you are more likely to suffer another bout during pregnancy or postpartum. You will also be at a higher risk of developing postpartum psychosis, a severe condition of hallucinations.
  3. Lack of support: If you feel isolated from your partner, family or friends, or lack their support during pregnancy, you might get depressed. An unsupportive partner or relationship issues can increase the chances of depression.
  4. Stressful life events: The death of a loved one, illness affecting you or a loved one, financial problems, or unemployment can also trigger depression.
  5. Unplanned pregnancy: An unplanned pregnancy can be stressful and can lead to depression.
  6. Domestic violence: Emotional and physical abuse by a partner, friend or family can trigger depression. It is essential to tackle this immediately if it happens to you.
  7. Fertility treatments: Fertility treatments cast the same anxiety as that of dealing with a loss. They lead to substantial hormonal shifts and make you experience a whirlwind of emotions.

Also, smoking, alcohol, and substance or drug abuse can increase the risk of depression.

If you are in such a condition, see a doctor.

What To Do If You Are Diagnosed With Depression During Pregnancy?

Talk to your healthcare provider during your prenatal visit. Your doctor will try to gauge your general mood and feelings. Tell them about your mood as well as your thoughts. If you are not comfortable with it, try writing down about it.

Remember that there is help out there for fighting depression. You don’t have to go through it alone. Connect with other women who are dealing with the condition or join a support group. You can also consider psychotherapy or any other treatment options if your doctor thinks it helps.

How Is Depression Treated During Pregnancy?

There are different approaches to treat depression. Your doctor can help you choose the right one based on your symptoms.

1. Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy:

This involves sharing your feelings and concerns with a therapist, psychologist or counselor. It effectively helps you manage the symptoms, solve issues and cope with things in everyday life. Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are the two approaches that are effective in treating depression.

2. Support groups and online communities:

There are online communities and local support groups for people suffering from depression; you can interact and share your experiences with the others having a similar condition. These groups often help you find a solution to your problem. Your counselor or healthcare provider can help you find a suitable support group.

3. Medications:

Your doctor will prescribe antidepressants in the case of moderate to severe depression. If you were on antidepressants when you conceived, tell your doctor about it.

4. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT):

Electric current is passed through the brain for treating depression. It is usually recommended for severe depression when the safety of the mother or baby is jeopardized.

Often, doctors recommend talk therapy rather than antidepressants, owing to the side-effects they have.


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