Depression and Pregnancy

Depression and Pregnancy

A Reality for A Third of Pregnant Women


There is a myth that women should be always happy during pregnancy.  This is not the case as 33 percent of women can experience depression and anxiety during this period.


Mental Health Issues are often glossed over as mood swings and hormones in women.  Here are some of the symptoms of depression in women.


Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of depression include:

Being in a depressed mood most of the time for at least two weeks
No longer enjoying the things you used to enjoy
Decreased interest in the world around you
A sense of worthlessness
Low energy
Poor concentration
Appetite changes
Feeling hopeless
Thoughts of suicide
Getting too much sleep, or not enough sleep
The symptoms of anxiety vary by type of anxiety disorder, and include:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Excessive worry that’s difficult to control
Tension/muscle aches
Disrupted sleep patterns
Feeling restless inside
Poor concentration
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:

Recurrent, persistent, intrusive thoughts
Compulsions to relieve those thoughts through repetitive thoughts or behaviors
Panic disorder:

Recurrent panic attacks
Persistent fear of having a panic attack
Risk Factors for Anxiety and Depression

Anyone can experience depression or anxiety during pregnancy, but women with these risk factors are especially susceptible:

A personal or family history of a mood disorder, such as depression or anxiety
A history of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
Being a young mother (under the age of 20)
Having poor social support
Living alone
Experiencing marital conflict
Being divorced, widowed, or separated
Having experienced traumatic or stressful events in the past year
Feeling ambivalent about being pregnant
Pregnancy complications
Having a low income
Having more than three children



Nonmedicinal Approaches
The following treatments have been shown to help pregnant women with mild to moderate depression.

Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in which a skilled therapist teaches new approaches to managing thoughts and emotions
Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are found in foods such as oily fish and walnuts, and can act as a natural mood-booster
Light therapy, in which patients are exposed to artificial sunlight at specific times of the day to help relieve depression symptoms
Acupuncture, a Chinese practice that (in this case) involves placing tiny needles into areas of the body thought to influence mood


Some women will have to use anti-depressants to manage their condition.





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