Pregnancy can be tough, but when feelings of sadness or stress become intense and persistent, it’s time to act. Here’s what to know about prenatal depression.
Now a days we hear a word “Depression “ a lot, is it a new problem emerged all of a sudden from some where? No it was always there among us but we never knew about it, we never spoke about it, we didn’t had so many researches about it. I have written an article about “Post partum depression “ here is one more “Prenatal depression “ or “Prepartum depression “a problem no one actually talks about.
Motherhood a beautiful journey which starts with pregnancy. Pregnancy is not just missing your cycles, or having morning sickness, or having late night cravings. There are unexpected challenges like pregnancy discomfort and hormonal imbalances. It’s a roller coaster ride for 9 months.
Along with lots of excitement and gratitude comes stress and anxiety. The pregnancy and birth always belongs to the mother. Pregnancy is the time when your baby grows inside your womb. It is imperative to take care of your body and mind to keep your baby healthy. Studies suggest that perinatal mood disorders are common in women who report high levels of life events stress during pregnancy. And 7% of pregnant women experience depression during pregnancy. Rates might be higher in low and middle class income countries.
I spoke to some mothers and would be mothers, what are the reasons they feel really low and the list goes like this……The all attention is towards baby growing in uterus and very less is cared about the person who carry that uterus. Then we being in the modern society , there is also pressure like “you eat too much , you will be fat” or comparison between pregnant females in your neighbourhood or relations” that lady is also pregnant but see how active she is” or “ so and so she was also pregnant but she didn’t had these symptoms”, or one common dialogue from our elders, “ we have also given birth but we used to walk , run and do heavy household chores, we didnt ask or depend on helpers around”. Why do we all forget every pregnancy is different and every person is different. A big problem giving birth to a male child has become the major reason for the prenatal depression. Women are always under pressure of having a male child, especially when they have given birth to a daughter.
Why does depression during pregnancy often go unrecognized?
Some symptoms of depression, including changes in sleep, energy level, appetite and libido, are similar to symptoms of pregnancy. As a result, you or your health care provider might attribute these symptoms to your pregnancy, rather than depression.
Women might also be reluctant to talk to their health care providers about changes in moods during pregnancy, due to the stigma associated with depression. There’s also a tendency to focus more on women’s physical health during pregnancy, rather than mental health.
If I’m depressed, will it affect my children?
Depression is treatable. But if it is not treated, it will affect your children.
Moms who are depressed may have trouble caring for their children. They may be loving one minute and withdrawn the next. They may respond to their child in a negative way or not respond at all. Your feelings and your behaviour will affect your ability to care for your children.
Depression can also affect attachment, which is important for your child’s development. Attachment is a deep emotional bond that a baby forms with the person who provides most of his care. A “secure attachment” develops quite naturally. A mother responds to her crying infant, offering whatever she feels her baby needs—feeding, a diaper change, cuddling. Secure attachment helps protect against stress and is an important part of a baby’s long-term emotional health. It makes a baby feel safe and secure, and helps him learn to trust others.
If you’re depressed, you may have trouble being loving and caring with your baby all the time. This can lead to an “insecure attachment,” which can cause problems later in childhood.
What Causes Depression During Pregnancy?
Risk factors for depression during pregnancy include:
Having anxiety, Dealing with life stress, Having a previous history of depression, Having a genetic predisposition toward depression or anxiety, Not having a social support system to lean on, Becoming pregnant unexpectedly,, Experiencing partner violence.
The following treatments have been shown to help pregnant women with mild to moderate depression.
Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in which a skilled therapist teaches new approaches to managing thoughts and emotions
Exercising has various benefits for the body. Exercising helps manage the physical health of the mother and also boosts the baby’s health. Exercising also helps improve the mental health of the mother. Exercising has proven to release happy hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, etc. which help elevate mood. This release of happy hormones may also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercising such as yoga and meditation have proven to provide even more benefits to mental health.
What you eat also influences your moods and feelings. Eating food also releases certain happy hormones in the body. These hormones help facilitate improvement in moods, improve sleep cycle and various other benefits.
Following these simple lifestyle steps can help you avoid prenatal depression. The good physical and mental health of the mother ensures the good overall health of the baby. Make sure to be mindful of these factors and to provide a happy environment to the mother.
A population-based study shows that the children of women who experience depression during pregnancy are 1.5 times more likely to be depressed themselves as teens.
Depression is believed to have a genetic link, but a new study suggests a mother’s mental health while pregnant can affect her child even more directly. Research published in the journal JAMA PsychiatryTrusted Source suggests that women who experience depression during pregnancy give their children an increased risk of depression as adults. Seeking help for depression during pregnancy is vital for a would bb-mother and Health professionals should be aware and ready to support women.
(Dr Shagufta Kazi is working in Govt Health sector and is an international Lamaze Lactation counsellor and Childbirth care expert . )