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Pregnancy Topics..

You are here : home > Pregnancy > Medical Aspects of Pregnancy > Pregnancy and Depression

Pregnancy and Depression

Physical changes during pregnancy can lead to depression. Find out how changing hormonal levels in body can give rise to acute symptoms of depression during pregnancy.

Pregnancy is surely one of the most enjoyable parts of a woman’s life, but at times there can be some issues like bouts of depression due to various factors. Stress, confusion and fear regarding a lot of aspects are somewhat natural when one is pregnant. But some women struggle with an overwhelming emotional state that is clinically termed as depression and this is not desirable for the mother-to-be or the unborn baby. Depression is a mental disorder that affects people at some point of their lives, and pregnancy is a very vulnerable stage when one can be hit by depression quite easily. But there is nothing to be too worried as this depression can surely be treated and dealt with effectively and successfully.

Why Depression?

Depression is a mental or mood disorder and when it happens during pregnancy, it is clinically termed as ante-partum depression. This is basically a biological condition that is attributed to the sudden and rapid changes occurring in the hormonal balances and the brain chemistry. The hormonal changes directly affect the brain chemicals that in turn result to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. The situation becomes complicated when this is complemented with other external factors.

Symptoms of Depression during Pregnancy

Let us have a look at the symptoms of depression during pregnancy.

  • Persistent feelings of anxiety, stress and sadness, sometimes for no apparent reason.
  • Feeling guilty and worthless, persistently feeling de-motivated.
  • Lack of sleep or sleeping too much.
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate.
  • Losing interest in activities that was earlier enjoyable.
  • Losing appetite or drastic change in eating habit.
  • Feeling of hopelessness, contemplating death or suicide.

Reasons Behind the Emotional Agitation And Depression

Here are some of the causes behind emotional agitation and depression during pregnancy.

  • The physical changes during pregnancy are also related to the changing hormonal levels in the body.
  • Health complications associated with pregnancy can ‘naturally’ lead to emotional disturbances.
  • If the woman has had a previous failed pregnancy or difficulty in conceiving, the fears become somewhat staple.
  • If the woman lacks an emotional support system from the spouse and immediate family, she tends to be tensed and prone to depression.
  • If she is already having relationship issues with the partner.
  • If there is a history of depression in the family.

Effects of Depression on the Unborn Baby

When depression is left untreated, it can turn serious and fatal for the mother and obviously for the baby as well. Suicidal tendencies are acute symptoms of depression. Further depression during pregnancy can lead to many undesirable and harmful tendencies like smoking, alcohol and even poor nutrition which directly affect the well being of the baby. It therefore needs to be treated out rightly and the mother should be kept under good care and supervision. Babies who are born to mothers with ante-partum depression are found to be irritable, less attentive and prone to depression themselves, as they grow up. 

Apart from talking to your physician when you find yourself in the clutches of depression, or when you notice your pregnant spouse suffering from depression, you need to be very supportive and understanding. Seek the help of appropriate support groups and go for the prescribed medication. Private psychotherapy is also found to be very effective in dealing with depression during pregnancy. Take care of your diet, go for appropriate workouts and engage in activities that you enjoy, above all, try to develop a positive outlook, and you will find yourself better equipped to deal with the situation.

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Mandiar.5 years ago
very good information.. depression in pregnancy or after pregnancy is seldom taken seriously. It can have serious complications. it should be treated early.
devika.5 years ago
Hormonal changes can make you feel more anxious than usual. Anxiety should be treated during pregnancy so as to prevent depression.
Somali.5 years ago
after the birth of my son, i was quite depressed for few months. i did not feel like doing anything. i was always worried or crying. i did not know the reason for this
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