Are you aware that if left untreated, depression could cause health problems for you and your baby? Browse through to gain some knowledge on its causes, symptoms, treatments and how to deal with it.
Clinically known as antenatal depression, depression during pregnancy is a severe condition affecting many women today. Studies indicate that between 14% and 23% of women go through antenatal depression, while only less than 20% look for treatment. From fear to anxiety to happiness to confusion, pregnancy comes with a lot of mixed emotions. Fortunately, understanding the cause of these negative emotions will help you to better manage this stage in your life and thus provide a healthy life for you and your unborn child.
Causes of Antenatal Depression
Although the main cause of this disorder is not well understood, a study by Stanford Medicine suggests that it can be attributed to different factors including genetics. Genetics plays a big role when it comes to depression. As such, this disorder is inheritable and individuals are prone to it if someone from their family went through it at some point in life. In addition, unwanted pregnancies, lack of family or friend support and hormones are other factors that contribute to anxiety during pregnancy. Hormones result in the variation of emotions by directly controlling the chemistry of the brain that is responsible for moods and emotions.
Symptoms of Antenatal Depression
The symptoms vary in different people. Therefore, some women experience mild and short-lived symptoms, and for others they might be very intense and long-lasting. Unfortunately, most of the time it’s hard to diagnose depression since its symptoms are usually confused with normal symptoms experienced during pregnancy. However, a qualified professional will be able to help you figure out what might be the cause. Symptoms of depression during pregnancy include:
- Thinking more about suicide and sometimes even attempting to commit suicide
- Feeling uneasy, awful, helpless and worthless
- Loss of energy and feeling fatigued all the time
- Depressed women tend to concentrate more on problems and thus have trouble making decisions
- Having problems sleeping
- Lack of appetite and loss of weight
- Having pains and aches that do not go away with treatment
- Crying often
- Lack of self-confidence
How to Deal with Antenatal Depression
Depression can be devastating and frustrating, therefore ensure your well-being comes first as it’s important that you take good care of yourself. Luckily, there are things that you can do to improve how you feel and manage anxiety during this time. These are:
- Opening up to a close friend or family member about your problems will help you in improving your purpose, sense of belonging, happiness, self-confidence and reduce stress.
- Indulge in things that will help you keep busy, be happy and be distracted from your problems.
How to Treat Antenatal Depression
If you are battling this condition, you need not worry. Studies suggest that the majority of individuals recover from this illness when treated. However, it’s recommended that it’s dealt with before it transforms into postpartum anxiety after childbirth. Below are some ways in which it can be managed.
In those cases where the symptoms are mild, doctors often recommend non-medication treatments. Talking to a psychologist, either virtually or in person, is important. Here, you can talk about the problems you’re facing and they’ll help you figure out solutions that would help you cope with issues better. Moreover, your therapist might also help you find a support group where you can interact with other pregnant women in similar situations.
Depression is treated with antidepressants when its symptoms are more intense, for example, when a pregnant woman is not eating and gaining weight. However, it’s vital that you discuss and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of these drugs before using them. Some of the most recommended treatments by doctors include bupropion, tricyclic antidepressants, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.
Antenatal depression is a common condition affecting people of all ages. It can have serious effects on you and your baby if it’s left untreated; stillbirths and health complications are some of the problems associated with this illness. Therefore, you need to talk about it and seek medical attention when you feel something is not right.