Pregnancy, the golden period of a woman's life, in not without a negative side. The many physical and mental challenges faced by pregnant woman go unnoticed by others. The physical problems as they are obvious get attention while the mental trauma is not recognized or dealt with properly.
Pregnancy and childbirth are considered important issues today. Still the risk factors associated with the mental health of the pregnant lady has not acquired the needed attention it deserves. Virtually, 20% of women experience mood or anxiety disorders at some stage in the conception and postpartum periods. The risk is much greater in women with an earlier history of mental problems. The condition causes great suffering not only to the mother but also to the child.
The disorders of pregnancy are caused due to the physiological and hormonal changes that take place in the body. Prenatal mood disorders are classified in to three major groups. They are:
Major Depression or Gestational and Postpartum Depression, which are often called as 'baby blues'. Nearly 10% of pregnant women experience the symptoms which cause risk to the mother and the fetus. Postpartum depression on the other hand occurs and gets worse after the child birth.
The signs of major depression in pregnant women consists unpredictable, uncharacteristic or bizarre behavior, weight loss or change in appetite, constant fatigue or lack of energy, feeling of guilt or worthlessness, difficulty in sleeping or oversleeping, irritability or mood swings, restlessness or feeling slowed down and recurrent thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Untreated depression may cause grave consequences to the mother and baby.
The second classification is the Clinical Mood and Anxiety Disorders. They can take place at some stage in pregnancy and following childbirth. It generally happens in a time span of six months to a year later. They require proper treatment. Anxiety disorders are as common as depression and are distinguished by hyperventilation, panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorders. The woman may experience recurring thoughts or pictures of dreadful things occurring to her baby.
Postpartum Psychosis is the third type of mood disorder in pregnant ladies. This is the most severe form of prenatal mental disorder. It is usually experienced in a few weeks of childbirth. The conditions call for a medical emergency. This severe form of maternal depression or mood disorder may direct to inferior neonatal outcomes and can even result in infanticide.
The effect of psychotropic drugs during pregnancy stands questioned. At the same time, the risks connected with untreated psychiatric sicknesses in and after pregnancy is a major concern. Necessary treatment has to be provided without doubt. Psychotherapy is a treatment for pregnancy related psychological problems. Psychotherapy is totally safe and healthy for the mother and the baby. The treatment is intended to find out the basic cause of depression and enable you to deal with thoughts of guilt, sadness, worthlessness etc.