When Is Crying During Pregnancy A More Serious Problem
While a change in emotions and crying spells are a normal part of pregnancy, crying can also be a symptom of a more serious mental health concern such as depression.
Telling the difference between normal pregnancy mood swings and depression can be tricky. As a general rule of thumb, depression will trigger other symptoms, too not just crying. These symptoms include:
- difficulty concentrating
- loss of interest in favorite activities
- feelings of worthlessness
- sleeping too little
- thoughts of harming yourself or others
Sometimes, depression during pregnancy is fleeting and resolves on its own. But if symptoms last for 2 weeks or longer, speak to your doctor.
Can Depression During Pregnancy Cause Harm To My Baby
Depression that is not treated can have potential dangerous risks to the;mother and baby. Untreated depression can lead to poor nutrition, drinking,;smoking, and suicidal behavior, which can then cause premature birth, low;birth weight, and developmental problems. A woman who is depressed often;does not have the strength or desire to adequately care for herself or her;developing baby.Babies born to mothers who are depressed may be less;active, show less attention and be more agitated than babies;born to moms who are not depressed. This is why getting the right help is important for both mom and baby.
- Light therapy
How To Cope If You Are Feeling Lonely During Your Pregnancy
Motherhood often can get really lonely. Having a newborn is incredibly stressful, especially if you dont feel as supported by your partner as youd like to be. In addition, theres sleepiness, exhaustion, or anxiousness about your unborn baby. So how can you cope if you are feeling lonely during your pregnancy?
As a first-time mom, it is totally normal to feel emotions such as isolation, depression, and anxiety. After all, being a mom is a huge deal and pregnancy is really hard. But its important not to let your emotions out of your control.
Initially, its important to anticipate the feeling of loneliness, identify the problem, and figure out solutions. Here are some strategies that might help if you are feeling lonely during pregnancy.
If Youre A Mother Who Resents Her Pregnancy
If you are a mom-to-be who is not happy about being pregnant and you resent the baby for putting you through physical and mental difficulties, it will most likely make matters worse. It has been seen that mothers who did not feel any attachment towards their unborn child were likely to have babies who would develop emotional problems in their childhood.
Signs Of Pregnancy Depression
First of all, if you are feeling depressed, know that you arent alone. Between 14 and 23 percent of pregnant women experience prenatal depression. In fact, one in four women will experience depression at some point during their lives.
Signs of depression during pregnancy include:
- A sense of apathy The things that used to interest you no longer do. You may stop caring about your daily tasks, work, or even your friends.
- Lack of appetite You might find yourself with zero appetite and go long stretches without eating.
- Feelings of hopelessness While loneliness can be a sign of depression, hopelessness is deeper and much harder to make go away.
- Strong sense of anxiety This includes having fears about yourself, your partner, or even your baby dying.;
- Thoughts of suicide These should never be ignored, as they typically coincide with a deeper level of depression.
If you are feeling depressed, above all else, reach out and talk about it. Thats the first step toward showing yourself the self-love you deserve, especially during this time of your life. Prenatal depression may not end with delivery, making postpartum depression a real possibility.
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Lasik Eye Surgery While Pregnant
Third Trimester Mood Swings
During the third trimester, getting comfortable at night can be a problem. Fatigue and difficulty with sleep can lead to mood swings. Fears and worries about the upcoming birth can get intense during the last trimester, along with worries about becoming a mother or worries about mothering another child.
A new mood swing you may find yourself experiencing during the third trimester is nesting.” Nesting is when you are suddenly overcome with a desire to clean, organize, and physically prepare for the baby. Not everyone experiences nesting, and for most, it can be a positive mood experience. For others, especially if there are fears about not having enough to provide for the new child, nesting may lead to anxiety.
It Felt Like A Light Turned Off In My Brain
Its unlikely that a woman who has experienced depression during her pregnancy will magically feel different once her baby is born. In fact, the feelings can continue to compound. When her son was born, Saremi says it quickly became clear to her that she was in an unsustainable situation when it came to her mental health.
Almost immediately after his birth while I was still in the delivery room it felt like all the lights turned off in my brain. I felt like I was fully enveloped in a dark cloud and I could see outside it, but nothing I saw made sense. I didnt feel connected to myself, much less my baby.
Saremi had to cancel newborn pictures because she says she couldnt stop crying, and when she got home, she was overwhelmed by scary, intrusive thoughts.
Afraid to be alone with her son or leave the house with him by herself, Saremi confesses she felt hopeless and despondent. According to Farkas, these feelings are common among women with perinatal depression and its important to normalize them by encouraging women to seek help. Many of them feel guilty for not feeling 100 percent happy during this time, Farkas says.
Many struggle with the tremendous change having a baby means and the responsibility of what it means to care for another human being who is fully dependent on them, she adds.
Recommended Reading: What Causes Spotting In Early Pregnancy
Why Do I Have Mood Swings
Mood swings are common in pregnancy and can be among the first early pregnancy signs and symptoms. Because of the overwhelming amount of emotion you are going to feel about being pregnant, and the differences in those emotions, you are most definitely going to experience mood swings. You are not alone, and this is completely normal. It may cause you to behave erratically. Chances are you would not normally behave this way, and you may find that when your mood swings create an issue with those around you , you may feel worse.
However, even though you should not lean too heavily on your pregnancy as an excuse, it is a valid one! The people around you will likely be understanding and sympathetic in the sense that they will know not to take it personally if you lash out at them.
Find A Supportive Friend
Feeling fat and ugly when youre looking for pregnancy clothes? Take someone with you who will stand outside the dressing room and tell you how beautiful you are.
You can also take a friend to prenatal appointments. This can be your partner, your friend, or a relative. But having someone with you, especially for ultrasounds or procedures like amniocentesis, can help with nervousness.
Recommended Reading: How Many Weeks Do I Have Left Of Pregnancy
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.
If Youre A Stressed Mother
Pregnancy can bring with it some stressful days. The occasional stress will not do any harm to your baby. However, if you have chronic anxiety and stress, it can cause your body to produce cortisol, a stress hormone. This hormone can be passed on to your baby through the placenta. If your baby is constantly exposed to this hormone while in the womb, it is possible that you will end up with an anxious and colicky newborn.
Don’t Miss: What To Expect When 10 Weeks Pregnant
Can Depression During Pregnancy Be Prevented
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says that certain kinds of counseling can prevent perinatal depression for women at increased risk of depression. Counseling is when you talk about your feelings and concerns with a counselor or therapist. This person helps you understand your feelings, solve problems and cope with things in your everyday life.;
The Task Force recommends counseling for women who have one or more of these risk factors:
- Current signs and symptoms of depression
- A history of depression or other mental health condition
- Being pregnant as a teenager or being a single mom
- Having stressful life circumstances, like low income
- Being a victim of IPV
The Task Force recommends two kinds of counseling to prevent depression for women at increased risk:
Loneliness And Depression During Pregnancy
Meredith Shur, MD, FACOG, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as a certified medical examiner.
While many people are aware of postpartum depression, a condition that occurs shortly after the birth of a baby, less talked about is depression occurring during pregnancy, which is called prenatal depression.
Although estimates vary, one study found that around 25% of women experienced prenatal depression. However, it also isn’t uncommon for women to experience some depressive symptoms even though they may not be severe enough for a diagnosis of depression.
Experiencing depressive symptoms during pregnancy can increase the risk of developing postpartum depression. Experts recommend that all women should be screened for depression both during and after pregnancy.
You May Like: Can You Donate Plasma While Pregnant
If Im Depressed Will It Affect My Children
Depression is treatable. But if it is not treated, it will affect your children.
Moms who are depressed may have trouble caring for their children. They may be loving one minute and withdrawn the next. They may respond to their child in a negative way or not respond at all. Your feelings and your behaviour will affect your ability to care for your children.
Depression can also affect attachment, which is important for your childs development. Attachment is a deep emotional bond that a baby forms with the person who provides most of his care. A secure attachment develops quite naturally. A mother responds to her crying infant, offering whatever she feels her baby needsfeeding, a diaper change, cuddling. Secure attachment helps protect against stress and is an important part of a babys long-term emotional health. It makes a baby feel safe and secure, and helps him learn to trust others.
If youre depressed, you may have trouble being loving and caring with your baby all the time. This can lead to an insecure attachment, which can cause problems later in childhood.
How a mothers depression affects her child depends on the childs age.
Babies;who dont develop a secure attachment may:
- have trouble interacting with their mother ,
- have problems sleeping,
- may be delayed in their development,
- have more colic,
When Do Pregnancy Blues Usually Begin
Feeling alone while pregnant can begin at any point during pregnancy. Circumstances such as how you are feeling physically and emotionally play a huge role. If, for instance, you are sick in the first trimester and feeling horrible, that may trigger feelings of pregnancy loneliness.;
In general, physical health can play an important role in how youre feeling overall. If the morning sickness never seems to end, if heartburn seems a constant companion, or if sleep feels impossibly far, you are more likely to feel down.
If you are feeling down, dont hesitate to open up to someone you trust, whether its your own mom or your midwife.
Pregnancy blues are closely tied to circumstances that sometimes feel out of your control. Moms-to-be who dont have a strong support system are more at risk of feeling down. But even those who do have a support system may feel they cant confide their worries or feelings to their family and friends. If you are feeling down, dont hesitate to open up to someone you trust, whether its your own mom or your midwife. Holding in feelings, regardless of how irrational they may seem, is carrying a weight that is not necessary to bear.;;
Don’t Miss: What Is True About Teen Pregnancy And Parenting
Does Pregnancy Cause Depression
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 .
What Are The Signs Of Depression
Depression can come on slowly. The symptoms are different for everyone. They can be mild, moderate or severe. Some of the more common signs are:
- changes in appetite, like eating too much or having little interest in food,
- changes in sleep, such as trouble sleeping or sleeping too much,
- lack of energy,
- feeling sad, hopeless or worthless,
- crying for no reason, and
- loss of interest or pleasure in activities you normally enjoy.
New moms with depression may have trouble caring for their baby. They might not want to spend time with their baby, which can lead to a baby who cries a lot.
You May Like: Is Fatigue An Early Sign Of Pregnancy
Postpartum Depression Is Different From The Baby Blues
Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby.;Feelings of postpartum depression are more intense and last longer than those of baby blues, a term used to describe the worry, sadness, and tiredness many women experience after having a baby.
The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms of depression, but may also include:
- Crying more often than usual.
- Feelings of anger.
- Feeling distant from your baby.
- Worrying or feeling overly anxious.
- Thinking about hurting yourself or your baby.
- Doubting your ability to care for your baby.
If you think you have depression, seek treatment from your health care provider as soon as possible.
Whats The Difference Between Baby Blues And Postpartum Depression
The baby blues is a mild form of postpartum depression that many new moms experience. It usually starts 1 to 3 days after the birth and can last for 10 days to a few weeks. With baby blues, many women have mood swingshappy one minute and crying the next. They may feel anxious, confused, or have trouble eating or sleeping. Up to 80% of new moms have the baby blues. Its common, and it will go away on its own.
About 13% of new mothers experience postpartum depression, which is more serious and lasts longer. You are at a greater risk if you have a family history of depression or have had depression before.
Some of the symptoms include:
- feeling like you cant care for your baby,
- extreme anxiety or panic attacks,
- trouble making decisions,
- hopelessness, and
- feeling out of control.
No one knows exactly what causes postpartum depression. If you think you have the symptoms, its important to get help right away. Postpartum depression needs to be treated. Talk to your doctor or call your local public health office.
Recommended Reading: How Soon Should You See An Obgyn When Pregnant
Getting Help And Support
If symptoms last for more than two weeks, its time to seek support.
Depression is a treatable illness being anxious or depressed doesnt mean youve failed as a parent-to-be, or as a person.
If youre worried:
- talk to your partner, someone in your whnau, or a trusted friend
- talk to your doctor or midwife. Your doctor will be able to talk to you about treatment options, which may include taking medicine. They should also know what support is available in your area.
If youve had depression or another mental illness before, you might like to think about the help or practical support that has worked for you in the past and put a plan in place for after your baby is born. You could ask other people to be ready to help you, or let people know what to look for when you start to feel low so that you can get help early.
Its also good for your partner and other support people to know what to do if theyre worried about you, and to get advice on the best way to support you.
Its really important for both you and your baby you get the help you need to be happy and healthy. If you dont get help the first time you ask, ask again, or find someone else who will listen.
- Talk to other people you may be surprised by who has experienced the same feelings as you.
- Ask for help. This is a sign of strength, you dont have to go through this alone.
You can find out more about depression and get support from:
- PADA; Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Aotearoa;