Can You Get Depression During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the most amazing, happy experiences for a woman to go through, and when this is the case, it really and truly is wonderful.
Sometimes, however, this is not the case. Sometimes a pregnancy might not go as positively or smoothly as we would like. For 1 in 10 pregnant women, the emotions the come with being pregnant can become overwhelming and hard to shift. If these overwhelming emotional changes last longer than two weeks and interfere with the pregnant woman’s ability to function in everyday life, then they are not considered normal changes.
Every year in Ireland, 7,500 women experience depression throughout their pregnancy or experience antenatal depression. And these are only the women who are diagnosed. Antenatal depression is sometimes overlook, because it is particularly hard to diagnose and it's not understood as well as postnatal depression.
- Changes in oestrogen and progesterone contribute to mood changes early in pregnancy
- Financial worries
- Uncertainty about the timing of being pregnant
- Being worried about the movement and health of the baby or lack thereof
- Feeling uncomfortable with being out of work for a number of months
- Feeling guilty about being unhappy regarding the pregnancy
- Being unhappy about gaining weight or body changes
- A family or personal history of depression or other mental health illnesses, suddenly coming off mental illness medications.
- Lack of support or fear of lack of support after the baby is born
- Relationship difficulties with the father of the baby or partner
- Loss of libido and the worry that your partner will not understand your withdrawal from sexual activity
- Feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the birth
- Overly concerned about the birth experience and how it will work out
- Stressful situations like a sick family member or friend or their death, moving house, job loss, divorce
- Feeling tearful without knowing the cause, finding it impossible to cheer up even when there is no reason to feel this way.
- Physical and emotional changes in a woman’s body, e.g. fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and breast tenderness.
- Emotions can be unstable, and feelings of low mood are not uncommon such as anxiety, hopelessness, fear and sadness.
- Many women feel confused about struggling with sadness when they feel they should be happy they are having a baby
- May feel moody, impatient or irritable, feel restless, have trouble concentrating and suffer from insomnia.
- Minor problems may cause a great deal of worry and feeling anxious.
- Appetite may increase or decrease
- Feeling totally exhausted and having no motivation to do anything.
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Avoiding social contact and isolating oneself
- Feeling suicidal or planning your suicide
The important thing to remember is, if you are experiencing these symptoms - You are not alone and it really is okay to talk about it. Early treatment when experiencing depression during pregnancy is the best recovery option and treatment will help to reduce the risk of developing postnatal depression./
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms please contact our mental health partner, Nurture. You can contact Nurture on 01 8430930.
With professional help, a woman can feel well again. There is a sense of hope and light at the end of the tunnel.
Written by Irene Lowrey for eumom