Why Do I Feel Depressed While Pregnant

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Depression while Pregnant

The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSAs 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.

Signs Symptoms And Treatment

Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the happiest times of a womans life, but for many women, this is a time of confusion, fear, stress, and even depression. According to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , between 14-23% of women will struggle with some symptoms of depression during pregnancy.Depression is a mood disorder that affects 1 in 4 women at some point during their lifetime, so it should be no surprise that this illness can also touch women who are pregnant. But all too often, depression is not diagnosed properly during pregnancy because people think it is just another type of hormonal imbalance.This assumption can be dangerous for the mother and the unborn baby. Depression in pregnancy is an illness that can be treated and managed however, it is important to seek out help and support first.

What Is Prenatal Depression

Prenatal depression is a mood disorder that affects 10 to 25 percent of expectant women, and research shows it may be becoming even more prevalent. Fluctuations in hormones throughout pregnancy can lead to mood swings, of course, but prenatal depression is more than passing feelings of sadness or stress. Instead, these emotions are persistent, intense and even debilitating.

Prenatal depression can also set new moms up for future mental health complications. Women who are suffering from depression during pregnancy may go on, during pregnancy or after delivery, to have more severe postpartum depression and should be monitored closely, says Amanda Itzkoff, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

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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 You’re 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.

Pregnant And Unhappy In Relationship

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Are you pregnant and unhappy in relationship and do not know what to do to alleviate the situation?

Like some individuals, you could be feeling drained and unhappy in your relationship while still pregnant. But shouldnt pregnancy be a happy moment in a relationship?

Yes, it should. Unfortunately, it is the opposite in some relationships.

Before pregnancy, you and your partner were probably all over each other, always doing stuff together and having the best time while at it.

And now that you are expecting your little bundle of joy, things seem to have turned upside down.

But, believe us, this happens quite often, which is why we have some answers to help you deal with this and proclaim your happiness.

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What Is Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is rare. It happens in up to 4 new mothers out of every 1,000 births. It usually begins in the first 2 weeks after childbirth. It is a medical emergency. Women who have bipolar disorder or another mental health condition called schizoaffective disorder have a higher risk of postpartum psychosis. Symptoms may include:

  • Seeing or hearing things that arent there
  • Feeling confused most of the time
  • Having rapid mood swings within several minutes
  • Trying to hurt yourself or your baby
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Behaving recklessly or in a way that is not normal for you

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.

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What Are My Options If Im Depressed During Pregnancy

If you are experiencing depression during your pregnancy, there are steps you can take to help improve how youre feeling. Preparing for a new baby is a lot of hard work, but remember that your health is important and needs to come first. There are a few things you can do to help with depression during pregnancy, including:

  • Resisting the urge to get everything done. Cut down on your chores and do things that will help you relax. And remember, taking care of yourself is an essential part of taking care of your unborn child.
  • Talking about your concerns. Talk to your friends, your partner and your family. If you ask for support, youll find that you often get it.

If you are not finding relief from anxiety and depression by making these changes, seek your healthcare providers advice or a referral to a mental health professional.

When Will You Experience Pregnancy Mood Swings

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No two women have identical pregnancies. While some expecting moms may experience dramatic mood swings, others will feel emotionally stable throughout their nine-month journey. Your mood may even differ between your own pregnancies.

Its worth noting , though, that women who report premenstrual mood swings tend to experience them during pregnancy, too. A study from 2015 also found a correlation between PMS and postpartum depression, so dont write off your feelings.

Those who flip-flop between elation and aggravation will generally feel this emotional push and pull early on in pregnancy, when estrogen and progesterone levels are soaring, and/or late in the third trimester as labor approaches.

Many women will be excited, terrified, and impatient all at once. Its no wonder your mood may vary, your life is about to change in a very big way.

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How To Treat Crying Spells During Pregnancy

Unfortunately, you cant control hormonal shifts during pregnancy. But you can take steps to help ease the effects of these shifts, which may relieve or at the very least, reduce crying spells.

  • Get enough sleep. Too little sleep can increase your stress levels, making you more irritable. Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Be physically active. Ask your doctor about gentle exercises during pregnancy to boost your energy and improve your mental health. Go for a walk, swim, or take a low-impact aerobics class.
  • Talk to other moms or pregnant women. Getting support, either online or from a local group, may also ease some of the fear and anxiety associated with pregnancy. By talking to other moms, you can share advice, relate personal stories, and provide each other with emotional support.
  • Dont overwhelm yourself. Yes, preparing for a new baby can be overwhelming and stressful. But dont feel that you have to do everything yourself, or that you have to do everything before the baby arrives. This type of pressure can lead to frustration, guilt, and crying spells.

If youre depressed, talk to your doctor. Certain antidepressants are safe to take during pregnancy. Plus, treating depression during pregnancy may lower your risk of developing PPD after baby is born.

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.

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If Youre Taking An Antidepressant When You Get Pregnant Dont Stop Taking It Without Talking To Your Provider First

What is depression?

Depression is a medical condition that causes feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in things you like to do. It can affect how you feel, think and act and can interfere with your daily life. It needs treatment to get better.

Perinatal depression is depression that happens during pregnancy or in the first year after having a baby. Its one of the most common medical complications of pregnancy. It affects up to 1 in 7 women . It includes postpartum depression , which is depression that happens after pregnancy.

Depression is not your fault. And treatment can help you feel better. Untreated perinatal depression can cause problems for you and your baby. If you think youre depressed, tell your health care provider right away.

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

  • Feeling sad, hopeless or overwhelmed
  • Feeling restless or moody
  • Thinking about death or suicide

Changes in your everyday life

Changes in your body

Can depression during pregnancy affect you and your baby?

What causes depression?

More information

Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale

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The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is a simple checklist that asks about your mental health. It can indicate whether youre experiencing symptoms that are common with depression and anxiety, and help you recognise when you need to seek support.

Find out more about the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale from Beyond Blue.

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Pregnancy Loneliness Vs Depression

There can be a fine line between feeling lonely during pregnancy and being depressed. Pay attention to how you are feeling and dont wait to reach out.

Maybe you tried and tried for a pregnancy, and dont understand why youre feeling down, now that you have what you wanted.

While feelings of loneliness may come and go, depression is a persistent, gnawing feeling. It may be borne out of loneliness, but it brings new depths of discouragement. Even worse, some may feel guilty for feeling depressed. Maybe you tried and tried for a pregnancy, and dont understand why youre feeling down, now that you have what you wanted. These feelings of guilt can turn to silence, making the weight of depression even heavier.

What Are Some Causes Of Depression During Pregnancy

Some women who experience antepartum depression have a history of major depression prior to pregnancy. However, many women have their first experience of depression while they’re pregnant. Antepartum depression is thought to be caused by a combination of hormonal changes and psychological disturbances associated with pregnancy. Physical changes, such as changes in body and changes in sleep and eating habits, while normal aspects of pregnancy, can also contribute to the development of antepartum depression. Risk factors for antepartum depression include:

  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Stressful life events, like the death or illness of a loved one
  • Lack of a partner or social support during pregnancy
  • Relationship problems, including domestic violence
  • History of abuse or trauma
  • Financial stress, including poverty
  • Unplanned pregnancy

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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.

My Prenatal Depression Symptoms

My Antenatal Depression Story – Pregnancy Update

On top of the shock I felt from my sudden pregnancy, I suffered from debilitating morning sickness. I was never the type to vomit, but I felt ill most of the time, had trouble eating much, and lost a bunch of weight. The weight loss made me very concerned for my baby. My midwives assured me that I could eat nothing but Wonder Bread for those first few months and my baby would be fine, but I still worried.

I worried about everything. When I caught my son’s fever, I worried that my unborn baby would be harmed in some way. When I lay down next to my son at bedtime, I worried that I was destroying our tight bond by letting another child into it. I doubted whether we should have gotten pregnant with this baby at all.

If I felt cramps or twinges, I almost wished I would miscarry. I wanted a way outnot just from the pregnancy itself, but from my tortured, obsessive thoughts. It hurts to even type those words, because now that my second child is here, I can’t imagine not having him. But those were some of the kind of dark thoughts that raced through my mind in the first trimester.

One of the worst things about it was that I began worrying about the thoughts themselves, wondering if there was something severely wrong with me for having them. The wash of pregnancy hormones weren’t helping either. It felt like three months of PMS tinged with daily anxiety attacks.

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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 Is The Treatment For Depression

Treatment for depression usually involves a combination of self-help, talking therapies (such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy and medicines.

Everyone is different, so treatments that may work for some people may not work for others. Your doctor will help you decide whats best for you. You will probably also be referred to a perinatal mental health specialist and will be monitored more closely during and after your pregnancy.

The treatment you have will be your decision. Your healthcare professional can help you by talking to you about what youd like to do and explaining the risks and benefits of all options.

They will also talk to you about:

  • whats best for your stage of pregnancy
  • any risks medication may pose to your baby
  • the risk that you might become unwell again without medication
  • how bad your symptoms are
  • whether you have had the condition before
  • how well the medication has worked for you so far, if you are already taking it.

If the recommended treatment is antidepressants, your doctor will discuss the risks of the treatment to your baby, including:

  • what is known about their safety during pregnancy
  • whether the baby may have some mild symptoms when born and whether breastfeeding may reduce the possibility of these occurring.

If you understand the risks to you and your baby and still decide to stop medication, your doctor should talk to you about other ways to manage your symptoms. For example, they may suggest talking therapies.

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