Can Being Depressed While Pregnant Affect The Baby

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Pregnant And Depressed

Or, women may feel more comfortable bringing up their mental health concerns with a therapist or psychologist, or with their primary care physician.

It doesnt necessarily need to be only your OB whos following you, Gray said. But certainly I think its important that you have someone to keep an eye on your mood.

Maternal Stress And Nutrition

Although most of the literature considers only the independent effect of exposures to maternal stress and malnutrition on the developing fetus, recent studies have focused the attention also on the copresence of both factors, also because they are interconnected with each other.

Indeed, extreme maternal diet influences maternal stress responses and similarly, maternal stress affects maternal feeding behavior. It is well known that stress induces a preference for a high-fat and high-sucrose diet, which can dampen the cortisol stress response, giving rise to a state of emotional eating, and to an increased susceptibility for weight gain and other metabolic dysfunctions. Moreover, the interaction between stress and high-fat diet consumption has been demonstrated to be able to induce a proinflammatory response in women, which in the context of pregnancy could promote alterations in the offsprings brain structure and connectivity through the exposure of the developing fetal brain to altered cytokines levels .

Can Depression During Pregnancy Affect Your Baby

Some women dont seek treatment for their pregnancy depression out of embarrassment, shame or guilt, or simply because they think their depression symptoms are just normal pregnancy symptoms that will go away on their own.

But studies show that untreated or undertreated depression can lead to preterm delivery, low birth weight, possibly gestational diabetes and, in severe cases, developmental delays in baby.

Over time, these problems can snowball as your baby gets older. Babies and children of mothers who experienced depression during pregnancy are at greater risk for learning delays and emotional issues, including aggression.

Theres also the fact that depression may not end when your pregnancy does. Being depressed when youre pregnant also puts you at a higher risk of postpartum depression. In fact, research estimates that around a quarter of women with PPD first became depressed while they were pregnant.

So if you think theres any chance youre suffering from pregnancy depression, ask for help for yourself, but also because your baby needs a mother who’s healthy both physically and mentally.

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How Does A Mothers Depression Affect Her Children

Its important to remember that depression is treatable. But if depression is not treated, children will be affected.

Other things in a womans life may make the depression worse, such as financial or marital problems, or a very stressful life event .

Depression can cause mothers to be inconsistent with the way they care for their children. They may be loving one minute and withdrawn the next. They may not respond at all to their childrens behaviour or they may respond in a negative way. Depending on how old children are, they will be affected by their mothers depression in different ways.

Does Pregnancy Cause Depression

Can my depression harm the baby while I

Pregnancy can cause you to experience depression. Your body goes through a lot of change and the stresses of pregnancy can trigger depression in some women. Not everyone who becomes pregnant will also be depressed.

If you have experienced depression in the past, your symptoms could return or if you were living with depression before your pregnancy, it may get worse once youre pregnant.

Its important to talk to your healthcare provider about depression during pregnancy because it can extend after delivery. Women who experience depression during pregnancy are at a higher risk of postpartum depression .

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Take Care Of Yourself

Preparing for a new baby is a lot of hard work, but your health should come first. So resist the urge to get everything done: Cut down on your chores, and do things that will help you to relax. Taking care of yourself is a key part of taking care of your unborn child.

Open up to your partner, your family, or your friends about what concerns you. If you ask for support, you’ll find that you often get it.

Your OB-GYN or regular doctor may screen you for depression at a routine office visit. They can ask you a series of questions to check your risk for depression and can offer treatment if necessary.

If I Am Taking Antidepressants Can I Breastfeed My Baby

Breastfeeding provides many health benefits for babies. It also helps mothers and babies bond. If you are taking antidepressants, small amounts will come out through your breast milk. But studies have shown that children exposed to these drugs through breast milk have not had problems.

Even if you are taking antidepressants, you can breastfeed your baby for as long as you wish. Stopping an antidepressant during breastfeeding may cause the depression to return.

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Your Immune System Could Suffer

But one thing is certain, the stress caused by anxiety can quickly decimate an expectant mothers immune system, leaving her open to frequent illness.

While it is unlikely that most common illnesses would directly harm the fetus, some including the flu are linked with preterm labor.

Fevers in pregnancy can also lead to birth defects, especially neural tube defects.

Dehydration and severe vomiting/diarrhea have also been known to trigger premature delivery.

Physiological And Biological Development

Depression and pregnancy

Anger increases our heart rates and blood pressure, as well as adrenaline and epinephrine, contributing to growing tension and causing blood vessels to constrict. This results in the reduction of oxygen to the uterus, compromising foetal blood supply. It can also cause, ulcers, asthma, high blood pressure , heart problems, headaches, skin disorders and digestive problems.

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What Is Antenatal Depression

Antenatal depression is when you feel sad all the time for weeks or months during your pregnancy. The condition can vary from mild to severe and can affect women in different ways.

Some women have depression after having a baby. This is called postnatal depression.

Pregnancy can be a very emotional experience and it can sometimes be difficult to know whether your feelings are manageable or a sign of something more serious. Pregnancy hormones can affect your emotions, you may also have difficulty sleeping and you may be feeling sick. This can all make you feel low.

Trust yourself. You are the best judge of whether your feelings are normal for you. Talk to your midwife or GP if you think you have any symptoms of depression and they last for more than two weeks.

Depression is a mental health condition and not a sign of weakness, something that will go away on its own or that you should just snap out of. Depression can be treated with the right care and support.

Depression During Pregnancy & Postpartum

Depression during and after pregnancy occur more often than most people realize. Depression during pregnancy is also called antepartum or prenatal depression, and depression after pregnancy is called postpartum depression.

Approximately 15% of women experience significant depression following childbirth. The percentages are even higher for women who are also dealing with poverty, and can be twice as high for teen parents. Ten percent of women experience depression in pregnancy. In fact, perinatal depression is the most common complication of childbearing.

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How Fighting & Arguing With A Partner During Pregnancy Affects The Baby

During pregnancy, women often experience emotional changes that can lead to arguing with their partner. This arguing can have serious consequences for both baby and mother. Normal arguing is not likely to cause any harm, but excessive arguing that signifies an underlying emotional disorder or causes extreme stress for the mother should be avoided. Using tips to help cope with emotional changes as well as proper medical therapy can help alleviate these arguments.

Depression During Pregnancy And After

How does depression during pregnancy affects the baby?

For too many women, joyfully anticipated pregnancy and motherhood bring depression as an unexpected accompaniment. Children as well as mothers suffer. Depression during pregnancy may result in poor prenatal care, premature delivery, low birth weight, and, just possibly, depression in the child. Depression after childbirth can lead to child neglect, family breakdown, and suicide. A depressed mother may fail to bond emotionally with her newborn, raising the child’s risk of later cognitive delays and emotional and behavior problems. Fortunately, if the depression is detected soon enough, help is available for mother and child.

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Prenatal Depression Side Effects

One of the biggest concerns about prenatal depression is whether or not being depressed can affect the baby. The short answer to that would be yes.

If you have prenatal depression and dont treat it, you could be putting your pregnancy at risk. Women who have not treated their depression have had preterm births and low birth weights for their babies.

It is also possible to develop gestational diabetes from untreated depression. Many people tend to overeat, underexercise, and not care about health and nutrition when they are depressed. All of these things also can put you at risk for gestational diabetes.

Since being depressed can cause someone to neglect their health, it can also put the baby at risk of not getting the proper nutrients it needs to develop.

Some have even noticed that babies born to mothers with untreated depression are less responsive and irritable.

How Common Is It

Depression in pregnancy is very common. Around one in every ten pregnant women has antenatal depression.

I just started feeling snappy, not my usual self at all I shrugged it off at first and thought it was just my hormones playing up. However, it started to get worse. I knew I really wanted the baby, but I didnt feel like I wanted it.”

Clare, mum of one

You may be more likely to get antenatal depression if you:

  • have had depression before
  • are going through a very difficult life event, such as a bereavement or divorce
  • dont have support from family or friends
  • are having an unplanned pregnancy
  • have experienced domestic abuse or violence.

But anyone can get depression in pregnancy, even if they have no experience of anything in this list. It can happen out of the blue and affects women from all walks of life. You are not alone.

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Frequently Asked Questions Expand All

  • What is depression?

    Depression is a common illness that can be mild or very serious. It is more than feeling sad or upset for a short time or feeling grief after a loss. Depression changes your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and physical health. It affects how you function in your daily life. It also can affect how you relate to your family, friends, and coworkers. Depression can occur at different times of life or in different situations.

  • How common is depression during pregnancy?

    Depression is common during pregnancy, affecting about 1 in 10 pregnant women. Some women have depression and anxiety for the first time in their lives during pregnancy or after delivery.

  • What are the signs of depression during pregnancy?

    The signs of depression can seem like the normal ups and downs of pregnancy. A blue mood now and then is normal. But its important to know the signs of depression. Talk with your obstetriciangynecologist if you have any of these signs for at least 2 weeks:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day

  • Loss of interest in work or other activities

  • Feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless

  • Sleeping more than normal or having trouble sleeping

  • Loss of appetite, losing weight, or eating much more than normal and gaining weight

  • Feeling very tired or without energy

  • Having trouble paying attention, concentrating, or making decisions

  • Being restless or slowed down in a way that others notice

  • Thinking about death or suicide

  • The fetus not growing well in the uterus

  • How Safe Are Antidepressants During Pregnancy

    Stressed during pregnancy? Your baby might feel long term effects

    If you take an antidepressant during pregnancy, there may be some risk of birth defects and other health problems for your baby. In most cases, the risk is low. But if you stop taking an antidepressant during pregnancy, your depression may come back. Dont start or stop taking any medicine during pregnancy without your providers OK.

    You and your prenatal care provider and your mental health provider can work together to decide about treatment with antidepressants. Learn as much as you can about your medicine options so you can make the best choice for you and your baby. If youre taking an antidepressant and planning to get pregnant, talk to your prenatal and mental health providers before you get pregnant.

    There are several kinds of antidepressants. Most affect chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, but each kind does it in a different way. And each has risks and benefits during pregnancy. Antidepressants that may be used during pregnancy include:

    • Serotonin reuptake inhibitors . SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medicines. SSRIs that may be used during pregnancy include citalopram , fluoxetine and sertraline .
    • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors , like duloxetine and venlafaxine
    • Tricyclic antidepressants , like nortriptyline
    • Bupropion

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    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression

    Major depression is more than just feeling down for a few days. You may have depression if you have signs or symptoms of depression that last for more than 2 weeks. Signs of a condition are things someone else can see or know about you, like you have a rash or youre coughing. Symptoms are things you feel yourself that others cant see, like having a sore throat or feeling dizzy.

    Signs and symptoms of depression include:

    Changes in your feelings

    • Thinking about death or suicide

    Changes in your everyday life

    • Eating more or less than you usually do
    • Having trouble remembering things, concentrating or making decisions
    • Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much
    • Withdrawing from friends and family
    • Losing interest in things you usually like to do

    Changes in your body

    • Having no energy and feeling tired all the time
    • Having headaches, stomach problems or other aches and pains that dont go away

    If youre pregnant and you have any of these signs or symptoms, or if they get worse, call your health care provider. There are things you and your provider can do to help you feel better. If youre worried about hurting yourself, call emergency services at 911.

    Commit To Finding Ways To Reduce Anxiety

    Now that you know that anxiety and stress can cause real issues for you and your baby, there are basically two ways to go about solving the problem: reducing anxiety and learning how to cope with it.

    Either way, seeking out a counselor or therapist might not be a bad idea.

    Therapy doesnt necessarily need to be about deep psychological journeys .

    Most therapists are trained to help with various strategies that could decrease anxiety, including time-management, organization, and even budgeting.

    They also, of course, can help with relaxation techniques and emotional support.

    Finally, those who struggle with anxiety are more likely to develop postpartum depression.

    Education in recognizing the signs and symptoms of PDD and having an established relationship with a counselor in place couldnt hurt.

    Otherwise, remember that occasional, temporary bouts of anxiety are completely normal for everyone, pregnant or not, and are unlikely to cause any lasting ill-effects.

    For these moments, think self-care and relaxation.

    A quiet, warm bath in a candle-lit bathroom was my go-to. Meditation, yoga, nature walks along safe trails, and even a night of Netflix might fit the bill as well.

    In general, anything that is safe, diverts your mind, and is enjoyable is perfect.

    Now you have the excuse to do it more often. This holds true after the baby arrives as well.

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    Can Anxiety During Pregnancy Harm My Baby

    Its a very important question to ask during pregnancy Can anxiety harm the unborn baby?

    We hate to say it, but yes, stress and anxiety affect pregnancy and can have negative effects on the baby.

    Thats why you should never ignore anxiety problems hoping theyll go away, but instead work on finding ways to reduce your anxiety.

    Pregnancy can be a very scary time and with so much going on, anxieties can easily build up to gigantic proportions.

    Here well take a brief look at what outcomes for babies with anxious mothers studies have indicated, other health effects of anxiety.

    Plus some ways to take charge of anxiety in pregnancy and reduce its effects.

    You got this mama.

    Are You At Risk For Depression

    The Integrative Management of Depressed Mood in Pregnancy ...

    Some things make you more likely than others to have depression. These are called risk factors. Having a risk factor doesnt mean for sure that youll have depression. But it may increase your chances. Talk to your health care provider about what you can do to help reduce your risk.

    Your health care provider screens you for depression at your prenatal care checkups. Screening means that your provider asks you questions about your risks, feelings and mood. If the screening shows that you may be depressed or that youre at risk for depression, your provider can help you get treatment.

    Risk factors for depression during pregnancy include:

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    How Often Does Depression During Pregnancy Happen

    Between 14 and 23 percent of women will struggle with symptoms of depression during their pregnancy. About 1 in 4 women have depression at some point in their lifetime. About 1 in 7 women are treated for depression within the year before pregnancy and the year after pregnancy.

    However, these numbers could be even higher, as many people who struggle with depression are reluctant to admit it or reach out for help.

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