Prepartum Depression Exists – Here Are The Signs
Depression is common with people who are undergoing major life changes. There is a huge difference between people who are depressed and just sad. The former is dangerous. It can be debilitating and may cause a person to give up on life both emotionally and physically. But, the good news is that it is manageable and treatable. Pregnant women, because of the major change in their body and lifestyle, are prone to depression. While most resources focus on post-partum depression, or after the pregnancy, there is actually such as a thing as pre-partum depression. Here are some things you should know about this.
What Is Depression?
Depression is more than just feeling sad. It is a mood disorder that makes a victim feel sad and hopeless all the time. It is perfectly normal to feel down once in a while, but depressed people wake up with the same feeling for weeks or months. This can affect every aspect of life, from sleeping habits, to work performance and to eating.
When a woman gets pregnant, her hormones go haywire. This is how women develop the first few signs of postpartum depression during pregnancy. This feeling can be quite difficult to cope with. There is that expectation that one is supposed to feel elated and excited while pregnant, so it might not be that easy to admit feeling depressed while expecting a child.
What Are The Symptoms of Prepartum Depression?
Feeling tired and having trouble sleeping are pretty common during pregnancy. However, when you start feeling sad or hopeless all the time, losing interest in day to day activities, and withdrawing from relationships, you could be depressed. Other symptoms include crying all the time, getting agitated too easily, feeling anxious, having trouble concentrating, getting fatigued that does not improve with rest and changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
In worse cases, a sufferer could have constant feelings that life is not worth living, could have overwhelming feelings of guilt or worthlessness and thoughts of suicide might start entering one’s head.
How Likely Are You to Get Prenatal Depression?
In a UK study conducted in the 90s, it was shown that out of 9,028 participants, there was a considerable number of pregnant women who suffered from prepartum depression. At 18 weeks, 11.8 percent of pregnant women had it. At 32 weeks, 13.5 percent had prenatal depression. The numbers go down to 9.1 percent 8 weeks after the birth while they reach the lowest average at 8.1 percent 8 months after the birth.
This finding contradicts the popular view that women are actually more prone to postnatal depression. It was just until recently that doctors thought that a woman could not possibly get depressed while pregnant. They thought that antenatal hormones made it impossible for them to get depressed, but they were wrong. These hormones are actually what causes the depression.
What Causes Risk of Depression?
Anyone can become depressed, although women are thrice more likely to develop it than men. Young adults are also more likely to have it than older ones. The risk of someone turning suicidal is also higher if there is a family history of depression. If you have struggled with the condition at any point before, you have higher chances of feeling it again during pregnancy. Women who have struggled with depression are at risk of getting postpartum psychosis, which is a rare but serious condition.
Other factors include stress, lack of support, an unplanned pregnancy and domestic violence. Women who are not in an emotionally conducive environment for a happy pregnancy are at a higher risk of getting depressed.
Depression can be debilitating, but if you think you are depressed, always consider the fact that you are not alone. You are not the first one to get depressed, and neither will you be the last one. There are different readily available treatments and this could include medication and psychotherapy, among others.
If you have concerns about taking medications for depression while pregnant, your doctor already knows what to do. If your depression is untreated, this might affect how you bond with your baby. You might also find yourself missing prenatal appointments, which means that you and your baby will not be getting the needed care.
Depression is something that millions of people have hurdled before. If you are depressed, consult a doctor immediately.
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