Depression during pregnancy refers to the stress or strain which is caused due to the increase of hormone level in a woman's body resulting in mood swings , in particular the two main female hormones-estrogen and progesterone causemood swings during pregnancy. This is not a disease but a normal problem which can be treated through extra love, care and protection.
Is depression more common in women than in men?
Yes. Women are twice as likely as men to experience depression. The reason for this is unknown, but changes in a woman's hormone levels may be related to depression.
What are the symptoms of depression in women during pregnancy ?
If you're depressed, you may have some of these symptoms nearly every day, all day, for 2 weeks or longer:
- Feeling sad, hopeless and having frequent crying spells
- Feeling guilty, helpless or worthless
- Thinking about death or suicide
- Sleeping too much, or having problems sleeping
- Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss or gain
- Feeling very tired all the time
- Having trouble paying attention and making decisions
- Having aches and pains that don't get better with treatment
- Feeling restless, irritated and easily annoyed
What causes depression in women during pregnancy ?
Depression seems to be related to a chemical imbalance in the brain that makes it hard for the cells to communicate with one another for example the improper level of serotonin in the brain can cause mood swings. Depression can also be hereditary, which means it runs in families.
In the days following the birth of a baby, it is common for some mothers to have mood swings. They may feel a little depressed, have a hard time concentrating, lose their appetite or find that they can't sleep well even when the baby is asleep.
How is depression during pregnancy is treated?
Depression can be treated with counseling, medicine or both. It's also important to take good care of yourself, to exercise regularly and to eat healthy foods. See the health tips below. Counseling alone may help if the depression isn't severe.
Some do's and don'ts when you're depressed
- Always ensure to talk with your loved ones, friends and family to avoid the feeling of isolation. Always seek the advice from your family doctor.
- Exercise balances the hormone and avoid mood swings. Example the level of serotonin in the brain can cause mood swings and can be balanced by doing yoga, aerobics etc.,
- Remember not to blame yourself for your depression. You didn't cause it.
- Suppress the discouraged feeling by keeping positive sign boards and try to do meditation to clear your depression.
- Do eat balanced meals and healthy food.
- Do get enough sleep. Some women sleep more during depression.
- Do take your medicine and/or go to counseling as often as your doctor tells you to. Avoid self medication.
Does depression affect my unborn baby?
Yes. It has been proved by many research that depression can affect the growth of the fetus. Mothers-to-be who are depressed during pregnancy are more likely to have babies sleep problem during their 18th month says O'Connor a research expert.
In his recent research, O'Connor says, follow others' research showing that mothers who report being stressed during pregnancy have children with higher rates of behavioral problems, as well as hyperactivity and anxiety.