You Can Be Pregnant and Depressed

This is an article I found on the Huffington Post about Prenatal Depression that I totally worth a read if you are pregnant or your loved one is pregnant.

I personally found it very informative since you rarely hear about pregnant women having to deal with depression.

Prenatal Depression Warning Signs: Here’s What to Look For

Posted: 10/18/2012 10:35 am

Written by Linda Sharps on CafeMom’s blog, The Stir  .

How many times have we heard pregnant women described as “glowing”? I don’t know about you, but my pregnancy glow was more of an oily sheen, thanks to the skin upheavals I experienced during the first two trimesters. I didn’t dislike being pregnant, but I was hardly a serenely happy glowing-with-the-miracle-of-life goddess — more like a gassy, bloated, lumbering sack of vague apprehension and worry. With giant unwieldy hooters.

Based on my own less-than-picture-perfect experiences with pregnancy, I’m not really surprised to hear that there’s such a thing as prenatal depression. What’s strange is that it’s just as common as postpartum depression — despite the fact that people rarely talk about it.

A UK study conducted in the early 90’s showed that out of 9,028 participants, the percentages of women who reported suffering from symptoms of depression broke down like this:

• 11.8 percent at 18 weeks
• 13.5 percent at 32 weeks
• 9.1 percent 8 weeks after the birth
• 8.1 percent 8 months after the birth

Those findings, among others, contradict the popular view that women are more prone to postnatal depression. Until recently, doctors didn’t even think a woman could get depressed during pregnancy, because they believed antenatal hormones protected against it. Medical experts now know that the rapid increase in hormone levels at the start of pregnancy can disrupt brain chemistry — and sometimes lead to depression.

In one study, as many as 70% of women experienced symptoms of depression during pregnancy. Those would be the fleeting moments of fatigue, anxiety, body image freakouts and other assorted discomforts and unhappinesses we’re all probably familiar with. However, for 10-15 percent of pregnant women, depressive symptoms can spiral into a full-blown diagnostic depression, which can start in any trimester.

Like postpartum depression, prenatal depression is hard to talk about or diagnose. Pregnancy symptoms can mimic depression signs, so it can be difficult to tell what’s really going on. Plus, everyone expects pregnant women to be blissfully happy, right? Just so overjoyed at the miracle of it all, too filled with excited anticipation to feel such humanly concerns as fear or discontentment.

Experts says that if you’re feeling three or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, it’s time to talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options:

  1. A sense that nothing feels enjoyable or fun anymore
  2. Feeling blue, sad, or “empty” for most of the day, every day
  3. It’s harder to concentrate
  4. Extreme irritability or agitation or excessive crying
  5. Trouble sleeping or sleeping all the time
  6. Extreme or never-ending fatigue
  7. A desire to eat all the time or not wanting to eat at all
  8. Inappropriate guilt or feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

(You can see how those can be hard to differentiate from normal pregnancy symptoms!)

The effects of untreated perinatal depression can be serious, even leading to preterm birth and growth problems. Plus, no one should have to put on a happy face when they’re suffering. If you’re depressed during pregnancy, get help. You and your baby are worth it.

Did you experience any depression during pregnancy?


6 thoughts on “You Can Be Pregnant and Depressed

    • I thought is was very informative as well. I think pregnancy is most certainly overwhelming. I think it’s alarming that so many women experience depressive symptoms during pregnancy in comparison to post partum! I feel that women need to be aware of this and of how they are handling everything that comes along with pregnancy.

      • There’s so many changes…it does make a lot of sense. I also feel that especially during pregnancy…women really do need the support of others. I’m glad to have the hubs around because it’d be even tougher without. I have new respect for single mothers who truly do it all by themselves but hope that everyone at least has a good friend, neighbor, or coworker to help alleviate the load a little.

  1. Reblogged this on Baby Chook and commented:
    I’m far from feeling depressed as I am definitely more tired and sore than anything else…but I found this an interesting read for anyone who may be feeling a little down…no one needs to feel like they are all alone and can’t talk honestly about how they feel. Plus, you can’t get help if you don’t talk about what you are dealing with.

  2. I’ve totally been there with my pregnancy. I’ve been so happy when the sunny/warm weather came this year…thanks for sharing.

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