Pregnancy is a very challenging time in any women’s life. Emotions flow high and low taking you through all possible undiscovered arenas of life. To admit that you are depressed may lead to the feeling of being judged as a ‘bad mother’. According to ACOG between 14-23% of women face depression in pregnancy.
Causes of blues – depressed feeling during & post pregnancy:
Unplanned pregnancy, medical problems, complications, poor sleep, lack of support, stress, infertility treatment, lack of exercise, previous pregnancy loss, abuse, history of depression, toxins like mercury in food, etc are few aspects that are responsible for causing a depressed feeling in women. It is important that during pregnancy the women are made to lead a life without stress. Also we should also ensure that post pregnancy women are given the appropriate support.
Signs of Depression:
Feelings of sadness, anxiety, not able to concentrate sleep disturbances, loss of interest, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, eating too much or too little, and suicidal ideation are few of the signs of depression. If you notice that someone you know is experiencing the same symptoms, recommend meeting a specialist. Even if it’s you who is facing such an issue, don’t feel ashamed. Discuss your concerns with a gynaecologist or a psychologist. You should understand that many women o though similar situations.
Tips for beating the blues – Depression :
Share, admit your feelings – Don’t pretend to be happy. Let your partner and family know your feelings. Keep in mind that you are not alone.
Blood tests- Certain medical conditions like anemia, thyroid problem, diabetes can cause depression. Severe morning sickness and the resulting nutritional deficiency can cause depression. Get help with proper prenatal care.
Take help- Ask your partner, family members for extra help. You can also hire help with household chores. Take time to care for yourself.
Diet- Avoid hypoglycaemia. Take high quality foods especially protein, nuts, complex carbohydrates. Avoid simple sugars like white rice, maida, sugar. Take all your supplements.
Exercise- 30-40 minutes of daily exercise is needed. Yoga, meditation and relaxation techniques help a lot.
Go outdoors- Get some fresh air and sunlight. Move outdoors for 30-40 minutes.
Adequate sleep- Sleep is usually disturbed at night during pregnancy. So you can nap during day. Take adequate rest.
Seek treatment- If you feel sad and weepy most of the time and nothing seems to help, see a therapist or Counselor. Mild to moderate depression is managed by therapy but if severe, medication is recommended. It’s not shameful to see a psychiatrist during pregnancy. Untreated depression has risks for both mother and baby. Mother does not care for herself or the baby. Baby may have low birthweight, premature birth, developmental problems, less active and irritated.
Your doctor will take a proper history and assess whether you need counselling or medication. Medication which is safe for baby is given and it is very helpful in treating the depression and giving you a dramatic improvement.