“Your Pregnant!” Let’s talk about depression…

Symptoms of depression can be marked by strong negative emotions that affect a person’s day to day life for a prolonged period of time. Women who are pregnant are at an increased risk for depression. The cultural expectations when a women is pregnant can be intense, everyone assumes that your going to be over the moon excited, or expecting that it is one of the most Blissful times in a woman’s life. There is a lot of pressure with pregnancy, and for a woman who has battled Major Depression her developing Antepartum depression is greater still.

Postpartum depression is a subject that a lot of us are aware of due to the courage of women who have lived through it and shared their experiences. There is another form of depression that isn’t as widely known or talked about. Depression DURING pregnancy or Antepartum depression, is rarely discussed unlike Postpartum depression. A little know fact about depression and pregnancy is that approximately 14 to 23 percent of pregnant women experience Antepartum depression, while 5 to 25 percent experience Postpartum depression after delivery. Thankfully public health experts are becoming more focused on the high incidence of Antepartum depression and are incorporating screening for depression into a routine healthy pregnancy exam. Encouraged as a first step to discovering any potential problem for both pregnant women and new mothers.

What are potential risk factors with Antepartum depression? Many women have never experienced any type of real depression so pregnancy depression is their first. As with most things in life if a woman has a history of Major Depression this could be a catalyst to Antepartum depression. It is generally believed that Antepartum depression is a result of the accumulative physical, hormonal and behavioral changes one goes through during the course of pregnancy. Risk factors besides a history of depression can be

  • Maternal Anxiety
  • Everyday life stress
  • Lack of family and friends support
  • Pregnancy was not planned
  • Domestic Violence
  • Single or poor relationship

just to name a few. Please remember everyone is different, not everything you and your body go through while pregnant is going to lead to depression of any kind.

How can a woman know if she is experiencing depression or just the typical changes? Fatigue and decreased energy, trouble sleeping, changes in eating habits and appetite, are all routine aspects of pregnancy which is where and why identifying depression becomes challenging. Take time to examine yourself, ask questions like ‘How are you today?’ Persistent, intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, emptiness are not what most would feel is normal.  ‘Am I?’ Anxious, angry or frustrated. ‘Do I still enjoy?’ Activities, hobbies, spending time with family and friends. Your response to these questions if concerning to you should be brought to your healthcare provider and together you can find a solution.

Once you know what you are dealing with an answer is generally available that can enable you to make beneficial choices and enjoy this glorious time in your life.