Depression During Pregnancy

Depression is an illness that involves the mood, body and thoughts. This sickness strikes about one in five women during the time they are pregnant. When you're pregnant, your moods can swing from sunny to dark. Even if you are very excited about your baby, you just might find yourself feeling sad.

You don't have to let this sadness take over your life. By understanding depression, you can rediscover the joys of being pregnant, worries and all.

Depression signs

Mood swings are normal when you're pregnant. But if you can't shake the blues or don't have the energy to do normal tasks, you may be suffering from depression. Signs include:

  • Quick temper
  • Sadness that won't end
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Eating much more than normal
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Not sleeping well
  • Not being able to focus or think clearly
  • Big mood swings and worrying more than normal
  • Not wanting to do the things you enjoy
  • Crying for no reason
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Frequent thoughts about death, dying or taking your own life

Call your doctor right away if any of these signs last for more than two weeks; they could mean you have depression.

The chances of feeling depressed

You are more likely to be depressed after you become pregnant if you have:

  • • Had depression before
  • Close family members who have had depression
  • Money concerns or relationship problems
  • Gone through a major life change lately, such as:
    • A move to a new city
    • A job loss
    • A breakup
    • The death of a loved one

What you can do

If you are unhappy or are having signs of depression, be sure to seek help from your doctor or a therapist right away.

You can also:

  • Take care of yourself
    • Make sure that you get plenty of rest and follow a healthy diet
    • Follow your instincts and try to pace yourself
    • Do not try to take care of your whole "to-do" list
    • Do not put in long hours at work
    • Do not try to see all of your friends before the baby comes
  • If you have a partner, make your relationship a priority
    •  A new baby is going to add pressure to your relationship
    • Be sure you and your partner are communicating well now, before your baby comes
    • Talk about your fears and hopes
    • Listen to your partner's concerns
    • Take a trip, or even a weekend getaway
    • Give time and thought to this close bond; your partner's support, trust and goodwill are going to be needed during the coming weeks
    • If conflicts are serious, think about couples counseling
    • Lose the extra worry
    • Join a meditation or prenatal yoga class
    • See a therapist
    • Think about changing jobs if there is too much pressure
    • Balance your lifestyle - make plenty of time for rest, fun and relationships
  • Medicines
  • Many drugs used to treat depression are safe to take while pregnant, so keep an open mind about using them
  • Talk or meet with loved ones, or other pregnant women
  • Call relatives
  • Join a prenatal support group or take a childbirth training class

Be sure to ask your therapist and your doctor about after-childbirth depression, which can happen to some women after having a baby.

After the baby is born

  • Women who have depression while pregnant are more likely to go through after-childbirth depression
  • After-childbirth depression can catch any woman by surprise, even those who had no signs of being depressed while they were pregnant
  • Depending on how bad your depression is, a mix of talking to a therapist and medicine can help you heal

[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth

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