Many women are aware of postpartum depression but have no idea they could also fall into depression during pregnancy. Depression is a condition that is characterized by a mood disorder that results in a persistent feeling of sadness. People who are depressed usually lose interest in the things they normally love and care in the past. Women are generally more susceptible to depression, especially during their reproductive years. According to research, depressive episodes occur more frequently in the first and the last trimesters of pregnancy.
Sometimes, it’s not easy for pregnant women to realize they are depressed since the symptoms are similar to those of pregnancy. Even a healthcare provider can easily attribute the symptoms of depression to pregnancy. Some women may also not feel comfortable talking to their health care providers about their symptoms because of the stigma associated with depression. Moreover, most health care providers turn to focus so much on the physical health of pregnant women while neglecting their mental state.
The symptoms of depression during pregnancy are the same as those in any other depressed person. Nevertheless, there are some additional clues that may suggest depression during pregnancy. These clues include:
• Low self-esteem and feeling inadequate about parenthood
• Severe anxiety about the unborn baby
• Poor response to reassurance
• Not being able to enjoy all those activities you would normally love
• Suicidal thoughts
• Developing certain habits such as smoking, consuming illicit drugs or drinking alcohol
• Fluctuations in weight such as excessive weight gain or severe weight loss
Some women are more vulnerable to becoming depressed during pregnancy than others. They include:
• Women who have a lot of stress caused by issues like poverty
• Women who do not have enough social support
• Women suffering from anxiety
• Women who didn’t plan to become pregnant
• And women suffering from intimate partner violence
Untreated depression in pregnancy can pose a series of problems that may be harmful to the unborn baby. For instance, a depressed pregnant woman will hardly have the energy to care for herself the right way. She might neglect her diet and eat unhealthy food. Besides, she might not seek optimal prenatal care, thereby putting herself and her baby in harm’s way.
However, the treatment for depression in pregnant women often depends on how severe the symptoms are. The treatment options most likely include psychotherapy and antidepressants. Seek intervention from your healthcare provider as soon as you are experiencing the signs of depression.