Is Depression Normal in Pregnancy?
Depression during pregnancy is a common experience and research indicates that 10-25% of expectant mothers experience depression during their pregnancy. It is important to address symptoms of depression as soon as possible, since depression during pregnancy can have serious negative effects on both mother and child.
What Causes Depression During Pregnancy?
Depression during pregnancy can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal changes, physical discomfort, stress, changes in family dynamics and uncertainly about the future. Additionally, a family history of depression or mental illness may increase the risk for developing depression during pregnancy.
Signs and Symptoms of Prenatal Depression
It is important to be aware of common signs and symptoms of prenatal depression. These can include:
- Low mood, sadness and/or feeling ‘down’
- Lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Changes in appetite, weight loss or gain
- Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much
- Decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Treatment Options for Prenatal Depression
It is crucial that women experiencing symptoms of prenatal depression seek support from their healthcare provider as soon as possible. Treatment options can include:
- Counselling and Therapy: Depending on the severity of symptoms, counselling and/or therapy are important measures for treating depression during pregnancy.
- Medication: Antidepressant medication can also be prescribed, but should always be discussed with a primary care provider and/or mental health specialist due to potential effects on baby.
- Lifestyle Changes: Engaging in regular physical activity and healthy eating can help to reduce stress, anxiety and negative moods.
- Peer Support: Online or in-person peer support groups can provide a supportive environment in which to share experiences and receive emotional support from others.
It is important to remember that depression in pregnancy is normal and that it is manageable. Through proactive and timely interventions, women can regain a sense of emotional stability and well-being during this important period in their life.
If you or someone close to you experiences signs and symptoms of depression in pregnancy, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider and seek help.
If you are in need of help or support, please reach out to your qualified healthcare provider or call 1-800-273-8255 to be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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