Feelings of depression during pregnancy are not unusual, and they can have an impact on your and your baby’s health. With proper treatment and self-care, it’s absolutely possible to address and improve some of the symptoms of depression while pregnant.
Depression is more common than you might think
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the most common mental health problem that women experience. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that about one in every eight women will experience depression at some point in their lives, so if you’re wondering how many people out there struggle with the condition, know that it’s something many women experience.
Many women find pregnancy emotionally difficult
Not every moment of pregnancy is that movie scene in which the overall-clad expectant mom paints the nursery, seemingly full of energy and blooming life. Sure, there may be some moments like that, (or similar ones) but the road to a baby can also bring about difficult feelings.
Depression can arise during pregnancy for many reasons, including changing hormone levels, shifting relationship dynamics, and upcoming expectations. And for women with a history of depression, embarking on the journey to parenthood can make them worry about the likelihood of a recurrence of depression further down the road, whether it’s later in pregnancy or when their baby is a newborn.
Getting treated can help you stay healthier during pregnancy
Feeling depressed or anxious while you’re pregnant doesn’t just affect your ability to enjoy the happy moments and manage the more difficult ones – it can also pose a health risk. Women who are under a lot of stress are at higher risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia, and they’re more inclined to suffer from headaches, insomnia, and fatigue.
It’s important to try to manage emotions in the most effective way possible. Maybe that means exercising regularly, or getting more relaxation time, or seeing friends more often, or maybe it means seeing a therapist or taking medication. A good way to measure the success of your efforts is to track your emotions during pregnancy.
Treatment for depression varies among women, and takes a little trial and error
Treatment for depression can have a positive impact on the pregnancy experience and beyond. Seeking treatment for the condition as early as you can is one of the best ways to take control of your health and your experience. The first step in getting treatment is talking to your healthcare provider, who can assess your mental health and help come up with a treatment plan.
Depending on your history with depression and how far along you are in your pregnancy, your provider may prescribe therapy, medication, or both. It will probably take some time for you to figure out what works best for you. Don’t worry – that’s completely normal. The most important thing is that you recognize that you may be struggling with depression, and that you feel comfortable speaking to your provider about what’s been going on. From there, the two of you can work together on a treatment plan that helps you start feeling like your best self.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Antidepressants: Safe during pregnancy?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Feb 3 2015. Web.
- Alice D. Domar. “Depression and Infertility: Treatment Considerations.” Resolve. Resolve: The National Infertility Association, 2017. Web.
- “Trying to conceive, pregnancy, and mental health.” Womenshealth.gov. Office on Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, Feb 12 2016. Web.
- “Depression in Women.” Mentalhealthamerica.net. Mental Health America, 2016. Web.
- Yael I. Nillni, et al. “Depression, anxiety, and psychotropic medication use and fecundability.” AJOG. 215(4)453.e1-453.e8. Web. Oct 2016.