It is very common for women to feel low during pregnancy. This is because of the many hormonal changes taking place in their bodies. However, if these feelings persist and start to interfere with your daily life, it could be a sign of antenatal depression. In this blog, we will be discussing everything you need to know about this condition – from its symptoms to its treatment options.
What is Antenatal Depression?
Antenatal depression is a form of clinical depression that can affect women during pregnancy. Symptoms can include feeling sad, anxious, or hopeless; feeling worthless or guilty; loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable; fatigue or low energy; changes in appetite; insomnia or sleeping too much; and thoughts of death or suicide. While antenatal depression is a serious condition that requires treatment, it is important to remember that it is also relatively common, affecting up to 1 in 7 women during pregnancy. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please reach out to your healthcare provider for help.
This type of depression can be caused by several different factors, including hormonal changes, stress, and anxiety about the pregnancy or upcoming birth. Treatment typically includes a combination of medication and counseling. If you are struggling with antenatal depression, please know that you are not alone and help is available.
Symptoms of Antenatal Depression
Several symptoms are associated with antenatal depression. These can include:
Feeling sad, down, or low most of the time
One of the most common signs of antenatal depression is feeling sad, down, or low most of the time. This can make it difficult for a woman to enjoy her pregnancy and feel excited about meeting her baby.
Having trouble sleeping
Many women with antenatal depression also have trouble sleeping. This can be because they are feeling worried or anxious about their pregnancy, or because they are so tired that they can’t sleep even when they have the opportunity to do so.
Feeling tired all the time
Another common symptom of antenatal depression is feeling tired all the time, even if you are getting enough sleep at night. This can make it hard to take care of yourself and your baby during your pregnancy.
Having no appetite or eating too much
Another common symptom of antenatal depression changes in appetite. Some women lose their appetite and don’t eat as much as they should, while others find themselves eating more than usual. These changes in appetite can lead to weight gain or weight loss during pregnancy.
Feeling hopeless or helpless
Many women with antenatal depression also feel hopeless or helpless about their situation. They may feel like there is nothing they can do to make their situation better and that their life will never improve.
Having trouble concentrating
Women with antenatal depression may also have trouble concentrating on their work or on taking care of their babies. This can make it hard to get things done and can make it difficult to enjoy your pregnancy.
Having intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your baby
One of the most serious symptoms of antenatal depression is having intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your baby. These intrusive thoughts also known as perinatal OCD can make it hard for you to enjoy your pregnancy or bond with your baby.
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that you used to enjoy
The loss of interest or pleasure in activities that you used to enjoy is another common symptom of antenatal depression. This can make it difficult for you to find things to do that make you happy.
Feeling irritable or short-tempered
Many women with antenatal depression also feel irritable or short-tempered. This can make it hard to be around other people, including your family and friends.
Causes of Antenatal Depression
Many different factors can contribute to antenatal depression. Some women may be more susceptible to it due to their family history or personal circumstances. Here are some of the most common causes of this condition:
1. Hormonal Changes: The hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy can trigger antenatal depression in some women. These changes can cause mood swings and affect a woman’s energy levels, sleep patterns, and appetite.
2. Life Changes: Pregnancy can be a stressful time as it brings about many life changes. For example, you may be worried about finances, your relationship, or becoming a parent. These worries can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.
3. Previous Mental Health Problems: If you have previously suffered from mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, you may be more likely to experience antenatal depression.
4. Lack of Support: Feeling isolated and alone during pregnancy can also contribute to antenatal depression. It’s important to have a strong support system in place, whether it’s family, friends, or a professional counselor/therapist.
Treatment Options for Antenatal Depression
There are many different ways to treat antenatal depression, and the best approach depends on each woman’s needs and preferences. Some common treatments include:
1. Psychotherapy: Talking with a therapist can help you understand and work through your emotions.
2. Antidepressant medication: For some women, antidepressant medication can be an effective treatment for antenatal depression.
3. Exercise: Exercise is an effective treatment for depression, and it can also help improve your overall health during pregnancy.
4. Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation can help reduce stress and promote well-being.
5. Nutrition: Eating a healthy diet is important for both your physical and mental health during pregnancy. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit caffeinated beverages and sugary snacks.
How To Cope With Antenatal Depression?
It is very common to feel low during pregnancy. After all, your body is going through so many changes and you are probably worried about the upcoming birth and becoming a parent. However, if these low feelings last for more than two weeks or are interfering with your everyday life, you may be suffering from antenatal depression.
There are many ways to cope with antenatal depression. The most important thing is to seek help from your GP or health visitor. They can offer support and advice, as well as referral to specialist services if necessary.
Talking to friends and family can also be a great way to offload some of your feelings and get some moral support. If you’re finding it hard to talk to people close to you about how you’re feeling, many online helplines offer confidential advice and support.
Exercise can also be a great way to boost your mood and increase energy levels. Even a short walk in the fresh air can make a difference. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and taking time out for yourself are also important self-care measures that can help improve your mood.
Eat Good Food
Eating good food is very important during pregnancy. Eating well will help your baby to develop and grow properly, as well as give you the energy you need to cope with pregnancy.
There are a few things to bear in mind when eating during pregnancy:
• Eat a variety of different foods to get all the nutrients you and your baby need.
• Include plenty of starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, and cereals in your diet. These provide energy and fiber.
• Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. These are good sources of vitamins and minerals.
• Include some protein in your diet every day. Good sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, and tofu.
• Drink plenty of fluids – aim for eight glasses of water or other drinks (such as milk or fruit juice) each day.
• Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee.
If you’re struggling to eat well during pregnancy, or if you have any other concerns about your diet, speak to your GP or midwife for advice.
Antenatal depression is a real and serious condition that should not be taken lightly. If you are experiencing any symptoms of antenatal depression, please speak to your doctor or midwife as soon as possible. There is no shame in seeking help and treatment for this condition, and the sooner you do so, the better. With the right support, you will be able to get through this difficult time and come out to the other side stronger than ever before.
Hope this article was of help to you! If you are suffering from mental health disorders, you may seek help from Therapy Mantra. We have a team of highly trained and experienced therapists who can provide you with the tools and skills necessary for overcoming mental health disorders. Contact us today to schedule an online therapy or download our free Android or iOS app for more information.