You’re pregnant? Congratulations! It is meant to be the happiest and most exciting time of your life. A little human being is being formed inside you and just the idea of having them with you in the world must be something extraordinary. But what is this? Why do you feel like you are spiraling into a world of darkness? Why is it that instead of feeling joyful, all you experience are feelings of gloom and doom?
Before giving you an explanation, relax. Things will be okay. You are not alone in having the pregnancy blues. Studies conducted by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), show that 14-23% of women experience various levels of depression while going through pregnancy. Ranging from anxiety to stress, fear to confusion and plain depression. Women can feel pretty bad throughout the nine months.
Do you think you have been going through this? Is handling your pregnancy becoming more difficult by the day? Here is some information that will help you discover whether or not you have depression and what you can do to elevate the condition.
What is Depression During Pregnancy?
The very first thing that you need to understand is that depression is a very real and somewhat risky during pregnancy. If it gets out of hand, it can become a danger to the mother’s health. Also known as antepartum depression. It is a mood disorder that can afflict at any stage of pregnancy. The question though is do you have depression or have you been only stressed out for a short period of time? These are clear symptoms of depression during pregnancy;
- Sadness that continues to persist and become more intense
- Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
- Concentrating on even daily tasks becomes too complicated
- All interest in daily life activities seem to end
- Eating too much or too little
- Constant feelings of guilt, hopelessness and helplessness
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Bouts of crying that are for no apparent reason
- Lacking energy or motivation to continue on
- Thoughts of death and suicide
The above mentioned symptoms need to be present for at least 2 weeks for there to be a depression diagnosis. Only your doctor will be truly able to tell you if you have been suffering from depression. So share with your doctor all the symptoms that you have been facing immediately. It is best to treat the condition in its early phase.
What now comes to mind is this, why does depression even occur at such a time of happiness and excitement?
If you look at the problem from a woman’s perspective, you will see that with the onset of pregnancy, her whole life changes. From her health to her looks, her sleeping pattern to her eating routine, everything drastically alters and this could lead to mood issues. Imagine throwing up for the first three months and then not being able to eat things you have previously loved.
These small thing are enough to send anyone into stress and sadness. But interestingly enough, these are only reasons for temporary unhappiness or stress. Research shows that this is basically the hormone changes that lead to the rise of depression among pregnant women.
So here’s the connection. When a woman becomes pregnant, there are quite a few hormonal changes in her body. These are in preparation for the development of the baby. Some hormones, like cortisol, may increase during pregnancy because of the stress that you are going through. This is a major reason why depression occurs. It induces insomnia as well as mood instability.
The things is, a pregnant woman’s body is undergoing a lot of changes. These physical symptoms, if treated, can elevate feelings of depression. But the hormonal changes that have been upsetting the mind, can only be diagnosed by medical expert.
How to Treat Depression During Pregnancy
The first thing you need to do is get in touch with your doctor immediately. After viewing your symptoms, they will make a diagnosis and might send you for a psych evaluation. Some treatment options for depression during pregnancy include the following.
Medication & Therapy
Medicines during pregnancy are not often prescribed. Most doctors are not comfortable in giving any psychotic medicines as they may have an impact on the developing fetus. For women suffering from mild to low forms of depression, medication is often not necessary. These conditions can be handled with therapy.
There are a quite a few therapy groups that can help in sorting out the stress. Since most of the people in the group are expecting mothers, you will be able to comfortably talk about everything. There are many trained psychotherapists who also know ways to help you and suggests ways in which stress and anxiety can be managed.
Ask your doctor to suggest or recommend such a group.
Diet and Exercise
Both diet and exercise can help in releasing stress. Ensure that you are not only consuming nutrients food but also taking your prenatal on time. Lack of iron also leads to low levels of energy and mood changes. Consider ordering a Food DNA Uprint.
Exercise releases endorphins in body which means that you will automatically feel better. If you were already a workout buff before pregnancy, continue with your routines. If not, then slowly ease into exercises like walking, swimming or easy to do aerobics.
Rest and Self Attention
Take time out to rest properly. Even if you are unable to sleep well, get in bed, dim the lights and just relax. Think happy thoughts. Attention to self also helps in elevating feelings of depression. Get some spa treatments, hang out with loved ones, and take a short vacation with your partner if possible. All these things will help you release your dark thoughts.
Please do not forget that depression can be dangerous for your baby. If you are not feeling well, the negative energy can affect your baby. Talk about what you feel and allow others to support you.
For some, depression ends during pregnancy. For others, it ends after childbirth. There are also hundreds of women who experience depression after the birth of their child. Known as postpartum depression. This can be very dangerous if not handled in time because it not only affects the mother, but the child too.
The reason why postpartum depression takes place is imbalance of hormones. Of course there are other factors involved, but the first few weeks of depression is due to the lowered levels of estrogen in the body.
If you have been experiencing either pregnancy blues or postpartum depression, it is essential that you talk to your doctor. It is not something that you might feel will leave on its own. You might need medication or therapy to help get rid of those feelings.
So talk to your loved ones and seek help today. You don’t have to live with depression, it is manageable and you can feel better with treatment. Pregnancy and childbirth is a time of joy and you need to feel the happiness. So don’t give in to depression. Talk to your doctor about the possible solutions for you.