If you are pregnant or have recently had a baby, you may be wondering if you are at risk for perinatal depression. This is a very common question and one that deserves attention. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms of perinatal depression, how it is diagnosed, and how it can be treated. We will also provide some tips for helping to prevent perinatal depression from occurring. So keep reading to learn more!
- 1 What is Perinatal Depression?
- 2 How To Identify It?
- 3 What Causes Perinatal Depression?
- 4 What Are The Consequences?
- 5 How Is It Diagnosed?
- 6 How To Treat Perinatal Depression?
- 7 Can Perinatal Depression Be Prevented?
- 8 Conclusion
What is Perinatal Depression?
Perinatal depression is a type of depression that can occur during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth. It is more than just the “baby blues” and can have a serious impact on your health and well-being. This condition is common, affecting up to one in eight women.
More often, perinatal depression is experienced as deep sadness or a feeling of hopelessness. Women with perinatal depression may also have comorbidity with anxiety, which can present as worry or panic attacks. It is important for you to be aware of these symptoms and to seek help if you are experiencing them.
Otherwise, this type of depression can go untreated, which can lead to negative consequences for both you and your child. So, if you think you may be experiencing perinatal depression, reach out today for help. There are many resources available to you, and with the right support, you can overcome perinatal depression and enjoy this special time with your new baby.
How To Identify It?
There are a few key things to look for if you think you or someone you know may be suffering from perinatal depression. Some common symptoms include:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, or overwhelmed most of the time
- Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or shame
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Persistent thoughts of death or suicide
Now for example, if you experience any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, it’s important to reach out to your doctor or mental health professional. Also, it’s important to remember that everyone experiences perinatal depression differently. So, it’s best to consult with a mental health professional.
More often than not, perinatal depression is treatable. But without treatment, it can have lasting effects on both you and your child. So do not avoid or ignore the symptoms and reach out to a professional today!
What Causes Perinatal Depression?
Several causes can contribute to the development of perinatal depression. These include:
The massive hormone changes that occur during pregnancy and after childbirth can play a role in perinatal depression. Hormonal changes can affect a woman’s mood and energy levels, which can lead to feelings of depression.
It is not uncommon for women with a family history of depression to be more susceptible to perinatal depression. If you have a close relative who has suffered from depression, you may be at higher risk. Certain genetic markers can indicate an increased risk of developing perinatal depression.
Previous mental health conditions
If you have experienced depression or anxiety in the past, you may be more likely to experience perinatal depression. This is an important factor to consider when thinking about your mental health during pregnancy.
Stress is one of the leading causes of perinatal depression. It can be hard to cope with the demands of a new baby, and the lack of sleep can make it even harder. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to your doctor or mental health professional.
Other risk factors
Other risk factors may contribute to the development of perinatal depression. These include:
- Having a history of abuse or trauma
- Having medical complications during pregnancy or after delivery
- Experiencing relationship difficulties
- Having a baby with health problems
- Feeling isolated or unsupported
- Having low income or being unemployed
If you have any of these risk factors, it does not mean that you will develop perinatal depression. But it is important to be aware of them so that you can get the support you need if you do start to feel depressed. Sometimes this might mean getting help from a mental health professional. If you are feeling depressed, there are also things that you can do to help yourself feel better.
Moreover, you should also keep in mind that you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about one in nine women experience depression during pregnancy. So if you are feeling depressed, know that you are not the only one and there is help available.
What Are The Consequences?
Mental health conditions are the number one cause of disability in the United States for adults aged 15-44. Perinatal depression is a serious problem that can have lasting effects on both mother and child. Some common consequences of perinatal depression include:
- Difficulty bonding with your baby: It is one of the most common and devastating consequences of perinatal depression. When a mother is depressed, she may be less likely to interact with her baby in a positive way. This can lead to problems with attachment and bonding, which can have an impact on the child’s development.
- Poor pregnancy outcomes: Perinatal depression has been linked to an increased risk of preterm labor, low birth weight, and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission.
- Difficulty breastfeeding: Depression can make it difficult for a mother to establish and maintain a good milk supply. This can lead to problems with breastfeeding and may cause the mother to give up altogether.
- Postpartum depression: Up to 20% of women who experience perinatal depression will go on to develop postpartum depression. This can hurt the mother’s mental health, as well as her ability to care for her child.
- Poor self-care: This seems like a no-brainer, but when a mother is depressed, she may not take care of herself as well as she should. This can lead to problems like poor nutrition and sleep deprivation, which can worsen depression.
- Relationship problems: When a mother is depressed, it can put a strain on her relationships. This is especially true if the father is also struggling with depression.
- Sleep disorders: It is not uncommon for women with perinatal depression to suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia. This can make it difficult to get the rest you need, which can worsen your depression.
If you are struggling with perinatal depression, it is important to seek help. There are many resources available to you, and treatment can make a world of difference. Don’t suffer in silence – reach out for help today.
How Is It Diagnosed?
The diagnosis can be difficult of perinatal depression because the symptoms can be attributed to the stress of pregnancy and new motherhood. In addition, many health care providers are not trained to recognize or treat this type of depression.
Only a professional can give a formal diagnosis by using methods like the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, however, you can get a sense of whether you’re experiencing perinatal depression by taking this self-test from the American Psychiatric Association.
In addition, there are some common methods that are used to make an accurate diagnosis, these are:
- Asking the mother about her symptoms and how she has been feeling
- Observing the mother’s behavior
- Talking to the father or other close relatives about their observations of the mother’s behavior
- Conducting a physical examination to rule out other causes of the symptoms, such as thyroid problems
- Ordering laboratory tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC) or a thyroid function test
- Referring the mother to a mental health professional for an evaluation
So, initially, these things will be done to come to a conclusion. After which, if it is perinatal depression, treatment will be recommended. Overall, it can be helpful for further evaluation and diagnosis. This is an important step to know and understand so that if you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, please do not hesitate in getting help from a professional.
How To Treat Perinatal Depression?
Treatment is an essential step when it comes to perinatal depression. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and how well you respond to different types of treatment, there are a few different ways that it can be treated. Some common forms of treatment include:
Counseling or therapy
This is often the first step in treating this condition. Talking to a therapist can help you understand and manage your thoughts and emotions. Also, therapy is mainly focused on helping you develop healthy coping mechanisms. Because in this condition, a woman might feel like she can’t cope with the demands of motherhood.
In fact, there are various types of therapy that are effective in treating perinatal depression. But, the most common ones are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT). As CBT focuses on helping you change your negative thoughts and behaviors. Whereas, IPT is mainly focused on helping you improve your relationships.
Attending a support group can provide you with emotional support from other women who are going through similar experiences. It is also believed that sharing your feelings and emotions can help to reduce the symptoms of perinatal depression. There are many different types of support groups available.
So it is important to find one that suits your needs. You may wish to consider joining a group that meets in person, or you may prefer an online group. There are also groups specifically for mothers of twins or higher-order multiples. Henceforth, find support groups as per your needs.
If counseling or therapy doesn’t seem to be helping, your doctor may prescribe medication. Antidepressants are commonly used to treat perinatal depression, and they can be very effective. These medications are generally considered safe for use during pregnancy, but you should always talk to your doctor about any potential risks.
In some cases, the medications used to treat this condition can cause side effects. These side effects may include:
- Dry mouth
If you experience any of these side effects, be sure to talk to your doctor. They may be able to adjust your dosage or switch you to a different medication.
All in all, these are some common treatment options that you might consider in this condition. However, it is always best to speak with your doctor before starting any treatment. They can help you determine which option is best for you based on your unique situation. Because this condition is a serious one that should not be taken lightly.
Can Perinatal Depression Be Prevented?
In some cases, prevention is actually possible. And same goes with the treatment, the earlier it’s diagnosed and detected, the better. Here are some ways to help you prevent perinatal depression:
- Educate yourself about the risks, causes, and signs of perinatal depression.
- Reach out to your support system even before you get pregnant.
- Talk to your OB-GYN about your mental health history.
- Make sure to get enough rest, exercise, and eat a balanced diet during pregnancy.
- Additionally, avoid any kind of stress and anxiety during pregnancy.
- You should also practice meditation and relaxation techniques.
- Do not forget to talk to your partner and family members.
Overall, these things can help reduce your risk of developing perinatal depression. But if you do experience any symptoms, make sure to seek professional help right away. The sooner you get treatment, the better it is for you and your baby.
And always share your feelings with someone whom you feel comfortable with. Talking about what you’re going through can help a lot. It will also make you feel better and ease some of the symptoms. So never hesitate to reach out for help when needed.
To conclude, perinatal depression is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences for both mother and child. If you are pregnant or postpartum and struggling with depression, please reach out for help. Because it is not something that you can just “snap out of,” treatment is essential.
With proper care, you can get better and give your baby the best start in life. Thus, you should always keep communication open with your health care provider about how you are feeling both physically and emotionally.
For more tips and guidance, you can reach out to Therapy Mantra. The team of professional counselors is more than happy to help you in your journey to recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You can also book an online therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app.