Prenatal Depression: Protect You & Your Baby


prenatal depression

Pregnancy is a time of hope, love, and joy. However, for many women, it can also be a time of prenatal depression, it is common and occurs more often than you might think. It can even happen to you! Please do not to ignore the signs and symptoms. Your life and the life of your baby is worth it.There is LOT of talk about post natal depression, due to many high profile stories in the news, however,  there is not enough attention being given to the period before While one post offering a summary of prenatal depression, the hope is that it will serve as a reference, and open up more discussion

Here is what  you need to know:

  1. Understanding prenatal depression. It’s estimated that one out of every four women will experience depression. Prenatal depression occurs during pregnancy and can be triggered by many factors.
    • In many cases, both patients and doctors ignore possible symptoms because hormone changes is often the focus. However, this type of depression can be dangerous for both the mother and child.
  2. Common signs: thoughts of death and suicide.
    • The pregnant woman may have ongoing and recurring thoughts about killing herself or others. She may also have thoughts about harming the baby, the father, and even try to do something violent. Other signs of prenatal depression include never-ending feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety and guilt
  3. Depression triggers. Some medical experts believe that hormone and body changes during pregnancy can trigger depression, but there are other causes as well.
    • Relationship issues are also a common trigger, because the mother may feel she isn’t getting enough support. She worries how the child will change the relationship after birth
    • Complications during pregnancy can also trigger depression. If the mother is on bed rest or worried about losing the baby, it leaves the door open for feelings of depression to creep in. The joy of carrying the child is replaced with anxiety, worry, and fear.
  4. Potential issues for the baby. Although some mothers are able to continue to take care of their bodies during depression, others struggle to eat healthy food or avoid alcohol and other harmful substances.
    • Suicidal behavior is another major risk for the baby. A woman who suffers from prenatal depression is more likely to try to kill herself or the child.
    • Drinking and smoking are also concerns because some women will turn to them for comfort.
    • It’s important to recognize that a woman who has prenatal depression may not be making the best decisions for her baby.
  5. Treatment options. These will vary, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor.
    • Women with prenatal depression can find help through therapy.
    • Both individual and group therapy sessions may be necessary. Discuss these options with your doctor and work out a schedule that fits your needs. Find sessions that welcome pregnant women.
    • You may also benefit from some medications, but there are restrictions because drugs can affect the baby.
    • Support groups have helped some women with prenatal depression.
    • In addition, reducing stress and eliminating issues causing anxiety can help.
    • Adjustments to diets, exercise, and lifestyles is also helpful.
    • The most important step is to seek help and not ignore the symptoms. Doctors and therapists can determine the best treatment plan on an individual level. 

Prenatal depression is a real issue and shouldn’t be ignored. If you or someone you love show these signs, seek treatment right away. Medication and talk therapy can help, after weighing the medication risks with your medical provider. If your insurance does not cover treatment, there is usually free resources available. Though not always easy to find, the effort is worth it. 

Untreated pre natal depression leads to a host of issues, including but not limited to, missing important check ups, problems during labor and delivery, poor nutrition etc.  No one should have to suffer alone and fight without help. Call 911 right away if immediate harm to the mother or unborn baby is obvious.

Learning about prenatal depression could save a life – or two.

To Your Success,
Juan