Can You Prevent Pregnancy Depression
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that moms-to-be seek out therapy or counseling to address pregnancy depression preemptively if they have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Youre currently experiencing signs or symptoms of depression.
- You have a history of depression or other mental health conditions.
- Youre partnerless or are a teenager.
- Youre dealing with major stressors like low income or unemployment.
- Youre a victim of domestic abuse.
That said, pregnancy depression can affect any woman not just those deemed high-risk. Your provider may opt to screen you for depression during your pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends screening women at least once for depression and anxiety either shortly before or after birth, so some providers might not screen during pregnancy.
That means that you should still let your provider know if you start to notice signs of possible depression whether they ask about your mood or not.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When Youâre Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
Ways To Manage Depression Symptoms While Pregnant
When managing perinatal depressive symptoms it is important to follow your healthcare providers treatment plan regarding taking medications , attending appointments, and staying in close contact with your support system.
Some self-care techniques that can help in the moment include:
- Avoiding strict schedules to decrease stress during pregnancy
- Resting when your baby sleeps, or whenever you are able to
- Setting limits with guests and visitors
- Delegating household chores/responsibilities to family members or friends who are willing to help
- Spending less time on social media and avoid comparing yourself to others
- Being patient and kind with yourself It takes time to feel relief!
Some other helpful actions include:
Weighing Benefits And Risks
“Have a discussion with your doctor about the risk and benefits about being on an antidepressant if you are pregnant,” says Epperson. “If you can be off a medication, of course you should be, but if you can’t — and a lot of women can’t — then antidepressants can help.”
With both psychotherapy and antidepressants, a pregnant woman can overcome depression and enjoy the birth of their child, and be assured that the risk that antidepressants pose to their child is small.
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The Impact Of Depression On Your Pregnancy
We know that depression can have an impact on your daily life and health even when youre not pregnant. Depression can lead to a compromised immune system, poor nutrition, and substance abuse.
When youre pregnant, studies suggest that depression can affect not only you and your body but also your offspring. Some reasons depression could affect your child longer term include:
- Epigenetic changes in the placenta and umbilical cord blood
- Changes in maternal and fetal central nervous system functioning
- Dysregulation of maternal hormones and increased fetal exposure to cortisol
- Not following prenatal care
- Substance use disorders
- Depression lasting even after pregnancy
Depression during pregnancy is also associated with a small increased risk of preterm birth or pregnancy loss. But it does not appear to be associated with the development of preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, or with NICU admission for the baby.
Depression, when left untreated, can continue to affect your baby and child as they grow and develop. Some studies suggest that risk of anxiety, ADHD, conduct disorder, antisocial behavior, and depression in children are greater in children of depressed pregnant women.*
What Causes Depression During Pregnancy
Depression during pregnancyâalso known as antepartum depressionâis a mood disorder like any other form of depression. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that as many as 23 percent of womenexperience symptoms of depression during their pregnancies.
During pregnancy, you become more sensitive to emotions, both your own and those of the people around you. This is a brain change thatâs part of the way that your body prepares you for pregnancy and is meant to help you respond to your babyâs needs. However, these hormonal changes can also affect the chemistry of your brain and potentially result in depression.
The medical community still isnât totally sure what causes depression, but certain factors can increase your risk of experiencing depression during your pregnancy, including:
- You have had depression in the past.
- Your family has a history of depression or other mental health conditions.
- You have suffered from abuse or are currently living in an abusive environment.
- Your pregnancy was not planned or is not wanted.
- Other stressful events are currently taking place in your life right now.
- You have diabetes .
- You are experiencing complications with your pregnancy or have experienced complications with past pregnancies.
- You smoke, drink alcohol, or use harmful drugs.
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Natural Remedies For Anxiety While Pregnant That Actually Work
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I was anxious about everything. In those early weeks, it felt exhausting worrying about my baby in between appointments, desperate to hear the reassuring sound of her little heartbeat. I looked desperately for natural remedies for anxiety while pregnant, that would ease my mind.
While anxiety can look a little different for everyone, if you are constantly worrying, your mind is racing, or you are struggling to eat or sleep normally, anxiety might be to blame. Here are some of the most helpful ways to deal with anxiety during pregnancy.
Will Having Depression During Pregnancy Affect My Baby
If pregnancy depression goes untreated, it can make it harder for you to take care of yourself. You may be less likely to eat healthy or sleep, and you may be more likely to smoke or use alcohol or other substances. This, in turn, can impact not only your own health and wellbeing but your baby’s.
Untreated depression during pregnancy has been linked to a higher likelihood of a baby being born early or having a low birth weight and with health complications. Research also suggests that babies born to women with depression are more likely to be irritable and may cry more than babies born to moms who aren’t depressed. Later in life, children may be at greater risk of emotional, developmental, and behavioral problems.
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Treatment Options For Pregnancy Depression
Depression is one of the most common pregnancy complications, so talk to your practitioner. At your prenatal visits, it’s likely your provider will ask you about your mood and how you’re feeling. If she doesn’t, be sure to bring it up.
Talking about mental health issues can be hard, and it’s easy to think you’re the only one who feels this way. But your provider likely sees many other women going through a similar experience. Remind yourself that she’s there to help, not judge.
There are two main treatment options available to help you manage pregnancy depression, which may be used alone or in combination: psychotherapy and medication.
What Causes Perinatal Depression
Perinatal depression is a real medical illness and can affect any motherregardless of age, race, income, culture, or education. Women are not to blame or at fault for having perinatal depression: it is not brought on by anything a mother has or has not done. Perinatal depression does not have a single cause. Research suggests that perinatal depression is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Life stress , the physical and emotional demands of childbearing and caring for a new baby, and changes in hormones that occur during and after pregnancy can contribute to the development of perinatal depression. In addition, women are at greater risk for developing perinatal depression if they have a personal or family history of depression or bipolar disorder or if they have experienced perinatal depression with a previous pregnancy.
Postpartum Psychosis Postpartum psychosis is a severe mental illness that occurs after childbirth. PP is a medical emergency, and it is important to seek help immediately by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency room. Women who have PP can have delusions , hallucinations , mania , paranoia, and confusion. Women who have PP also may be at risk for harming themselves or their child and should receive help as soon as possible. Recovery is possible with professional help.
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Antidepressants And Pregnancy: Tips From An Expert
Most pregnant women want to do everything right for their baby, including eating right, exercising regularly and getting good prenatal care. But if youre one of the many women who have a mood disorder, you might also be trying to manage your psychiatric symptoms as you prepare to welcome your new baby.
Its common for doctors to tell women with mood disorders to stop taking drugs like antidepressants during pregnancy, leaving many moms-to-be conflicted about giving up the medications that help keep them healthy.
Lauren Osborne, M.D., assistant director of the Johns Hopkins Womens Mood Disorders Center, talks about why stopping your medication may not be the right approach. She explains how women can and should balance their mental health needs with a healthy pregnancy.
How Is Depression Treated During Pregnancy
Its best if a team of providers treats your depression during pregnancy. These providers can work together to make sure you and your baby get the best care. Your providers may be:
- Your prenatal care provider. This is the provider who gives you medical care during pregnancy.
- Your primary care provider. This is your main health care provider who gives you general medical care.
- A mental health provider. This may be a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, counselor or a therapist.
- Your babys health care provider
Depression can be treated in several ways. You and your providers may decide to use a combination of treatments instead of just one. Treatment can include:
- Counseling, like CBT and IPT
- Support groups. These are groups of people who meet together or go online to share their feelings and experiences about certain topics. Ask your provider or counselor to help you find a support group.
- Medicine. Depression often is treated with medicines called antidepressants. You need a prescription from your provider for these medicines. You may be on one medicine or a combination of medicines. Dont start or stop taking any medicine for PPD without your providers OK.
- Electroconvulsive therapy . In this treatment, electric current is passed through the brain. This treatment is considered safe to use during pregnancy. Providers may recommend ECT to treat severe depression.
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How To Cope With Depression During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, itâs easy to get so caught up in taking care of the baby and preparing for its arrival that you forget to take care of yourself. While your baby should certainly be a priority, itâs important to remember that keeping yourself healthy is just as much of a necessityânot just physically but mentally, too.
Youâve probably been warned about postpartum depression, but what about depression during pregnancy? Studies have shown that women are just as likely to suffer from depression during pregnancy as they are after. Furthermore, depression during pregnancy puts you at a higher risk for experiencing depression following the birth of your baby.
Keep reading for more information regarding depression and pregnancy, including:
- What causes depression during pregnancy
- Signs that you might be suffering from depression
- Finding the right treatment for you and your baby
If I Take Antidepressants During My Pregnancy Will They Hurt My Baby
You may think you should stop taking medication for depression when you are pregnant. Remember that, if left untreated, depression can have serious effects for both you and your baby. If you are taking antidepressants and are thinking about getting pregnant , talk to your doctor first, before stopping any medication. You can also consult the following trusted resources: www.mothertobaby.org, www.medicinesinpregnancy.org.
Some newborn babies may have symptoms such as irritability, fast breathing, tremors and poor feeding if their mothers took antidepressants during pregnancy. These symptoms are usually mild and pass quickly, usually within 2 weeks. These babies typically respond well to a quiet environment, swaddling, skin-to-skin contact, and frequent small feeds. Serious problems such as heart defects or more severe breathing issues are very rare.After your baby is born, they will be watched closely to make sure they are healthy. Your doctors and nurses will make sure that you are both well before letting you go home. You may need to stay an extra day or two in the hospital so that they can be sure.
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Taking Care Of Your Mental Health During Pregnancy
Pregnancy brings a mix of feelings, and not all of them are good. If you’re feeling worried, you’re not alone. Worry is common, especially during a woman’s first pregnancy or an unplanned one. It can be even harder if you’re dealing with depression or anxiety.
If you’re feeling worried, sad, or nervous, talk to someone about it and know when to reach out for help.
Key Points: Understanding Depression And Pregnancy
Some important points to remember about depression during pregnancy are:
- Depression during pregnancy is not uncommon
- Depression during pregnancy can happen to anyone, including women with no history of depression
- Depression during pregnancy is treatable
- Many commonly prescribed antidepressants are safe to take while pregnant
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It Was Time To Get Help
She actually began researching ways to end her life. The suicidal thoughts were intermittent and not long-lasting. But even after theyd passed, the depression remained. At about five months postpartum, Saremi had her first-ever panic attack during a Costco shopping trip with her baby. I decided I was ready to get some help, she says.
Saremi talked to her primary care doctor about her depression, and was happy to discover he was both professional and nonjudgmental. He referred her to a therapist and suggested a prescription for an antidepressant. She opted to try therapy first and still goes once a week.
Icipating In Clinical Research
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.
Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you.
For more information, visit NIMH’s clinical trials information webpage.
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Depression In Pregnant Women And Mothers: How It Affects You And Your Child
Depression is an illness that affects the way people think, act and feel. About 6% of women will experience depression at some point in their lives. This number increases to about 10% for women who are pregnant.
Women are more at risk of depression while they are pregnant, and during the weeks and months after having a baby. During pregnancy, hormone changes can affect brain chemicals and cause depression and anxiety. Sometimes, pregnant women dont realize they are depressed. They may think they have symptoms of pregnancy or the baby blues, which many women experience right after birth.
Its also important to know that as many as 10% of fathers experience postpartum depression after the birth of a child.
The good news is that depression can be treated. Read the signs listed below, and talk to your doctor if you have any of them. Let your partner and family members know the signs so that they can also be aware.
If you dont get help, depression can cause problems for you and your baby.
How To Overcome Depression During Pregnancy And Postpartum Useful Techniques For Pregnant Women
You should find out the particular triggers of depression during pregnancy and postpartum, which helps you look for useful treatments and prevention easily. The causes of depression during pregnancy and postpartum include relationship problems, infertility treatments, personal or family history of depression, previous pregnancy loss, history of trauma or abuse, complications of pregnancy and stressful events during the life. If you expect pregnancy but worry about depression and mood disorder effects, this article about useful techniques and tips on how to overcome depression during pregnancy and postpartum can help you. Moreover, there are many articles related to pregnancy health on VKool.com. You can find more if you want.
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Depression During And After Pregnancy Is Common And Treatable
Recent CDC research shows that about 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. Additionally, a recent analysis by CDC found the rate of depression diagnoses at delivery is increasing and it was seven times higher in 2015 than in 2000.
Having a baby is challenging and every woman deserves support. If you are experiencing emotional changes or think that you may be depressed, make an appointment to talk to your health care provider as soon as possible. Most people get better with treatment and getting help is the best thing you can do for you and your baby.
Effective depression treatment can include a combination of medication therapy, counseling, and referrals. is talking to your health care provider. After your visit, make sure to follow-up on all referrals and treatment that he or she suggests. When discussing medications with your provider, let her or him know if you are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding. You and your provider can decide if taking medicine while pregnant or breastfeeding is right for you. Read Medicine and Pregnancy for more information.