Depression during pregnancy: Symptoms and tips to overcome

Depression during pregnancy

Depression during pregnancy: Symptoms and tips to overcome

Your home pregnancy test has turned out positive, you’re going to be a mom (maybe again), and everyone’s in the seventh heaven. But for some reason, you’re not. You are feeling sad, not as elated as everyone else and, frustratingly, you don’t know why! And then you feel guilty for feeling sad and that just adds fuel to the fire.

What is depression during pregnancy?

While on the whole, pregnancy is a cheerful time and a time to be happy and stress-free, it is not the case with all the women. Studies say that at least 10 percent of the pregnant women undergo pregnancy depression or depression during pregnancy. Maybe more, because many women are not aware of it, and most do not even report it to their doctors. Unfortunately, this is not very easy to diagnose people attributing mood swings to hormonal imbalance in the pregnant women. However, with growing awareness about this, it is possible to identify the signs of pregnancy depression in a timely manner and get help before the conditions worsen.

Symptoms of depression in pregnancy

Most of these sad feelings can be attributed to hormones and anxiety of the impending parenthood, and can be alleviated by talking and sharing the concerns with your loved ones. However, sometimes that may not help and you may feel these symptoms:

  • Difficulty to concentrate

  • Constant anxiety

  • Irritability and extreme mood swings

  • Difficulty in falling asleep

  • Either a constant desire to eat or a loss of appetite

  • Persistent sadness

Reasons for depression during pregnancy

If your family has a history of depression or you have faced many stressful events in life, you are likely to suffer from depression. Baby blues may also occur if you have had an unplanned pregnancy, right after the wedding or the first pregnancy.

A history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse is likely to trigger depression, due to the feeling of loss of control over your body.

Tips to overcome depression in pregnancy

  • Talk freely. Be absolutely frank and open with someone you trust, maybe your husband, or your mother, or siblings, friend, or even your doctor, if they are willing to.

  • Take it easy. Always remember that you don’t have to do everything. Be a little lax about how things are to be done. Delegate your chores to someone else you trust and let go, at least for the time you are pregnant.

  • Use meditation and relaxation techniques. This is the best time to apply all your prenatal yoga lessons. Meditate every day for some minutes and use the breathing techniques to let go of stress. Choose a quiet corner in the house, or if you have a garden in your vicinity, go there and meditate. The location is not important. A good meditation and breathing session will also help you get good sleep.

  • Engage yourself in a hobby. Find something creative to do and engage all your creative energies towards it. You can try knitting, embroidery – if you don’t know, you can also try to learn it. You may not be able to do gardening, even if you love it, because of your growing bump. However, you can definitely read up about it and plan ahead.

Will pregnancy depression affect my unborn baby?

It could. Women who are depressed during pregnancy show elevated cortisol levels, which brings with it some associated risks. Studies show that this could potentially lead to having smaller babies and slower fetal growth during pregnancy. Such women are also more likely to have premature deliveries and deliver babies with lower birth weights.

Newborns of depressed mothers also exhibit much higher urinary stress hormone when compared to babies of healthy mothers. This makes them more prone to stress, makes them temperamentally difficult, and more difficult to care of and soothe.

In the long run too, there's some evidence that kids exposed to maternal depression during pregnancy could face more social and emotional problems, such as aggression and other behavioural issues. Some studies suggest that there could be a negative impact on the child’s IQ and language as well.