Home > Living With Depression > Pregnancy and Depression

Pregnancy and Depression

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 6 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Depression Sadness Crying Emotions

Pregnancy is usually considered a time of joy and excitement but the reality for many women is that it can be clouded by depression. Depression affects a woman's emotional and physical health which may then cause problems during the pregnancy as well as after the birthing. Some of the symptoms you may be experiencing are:

  • Sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

What Causes Depression During Pregnancy?

There are numerous preceding triggers for depression during pregnancy, and at one point it was even thought that a woman's hormones during pregnancy kept depression at bay. Researchers, however, no longer believe this to be the case. The initial surge in pregnancy hormones can prompt depression. In addition, stressful events that are simultaneously occurring can further predispose a woman to depression. Depression during pregnancy can be related to many factors such as:

  • Relationship difficulties
  • Stress related to any fertility treatments
  • Concerns from prior pregnancy challenges such as miscarriage
  • Current pregnancy problems
  • Family history of depression
  • Changes in hormone levels

Risks Of Untreated Depression

There are numerous risks associated with untreated depression during pregnancy. One of the most worrying risks is the potential for foetal problems during both the pregnancy and birthing process. There is also thought to be a greater chance of poor maternal health. Suicidal thoughts and attempts can occur when depression is left untreated and a woman is more at risk for postpartum depression if she does not seek effective treatment.

Is There Anything That Can Help?

Treating depression during pregnancy must involve maximizing the benefits of therapy and minimizing or eliminating any risks and danger to the growing foetus. The safety of most natural remedies during pregnancy is unknown or controversial, so it's best to avoid anything you are unsure about. Talk to your doctor about which medications are appropriate to take during pregnancy. Your doctor will weigh any potential risks with the benefits for your depression. Some antidepressant therapy is considered acceptable for use during pregnancy and counselling therapy is usually recommended as well. Try to allow plenty of rest time and consider alternative methods to address the emotional affects of depression; one helpful method to try is pregnancy yoga. This can provide relaxation benefits as well as improving your fitness.

You may find that you are exhausted or overwhelmed with the urge to have everything 'perfect' and organized for when your baby arrives. Make time to do things that you enjoy, such as a walk outside or tea with friends. If you feel pressured to do things like decorating baby's new room, try to enlist the help of a friend or family member. Also, if you are in a relationship, focusing on time together with your partner can help you to handle depression during pregnancy.

Talking To Your Doctor

You may be hesitant to discuss emotional concerns with your doctor and instead, may assume they are due to your pregnancy and are not a big deal. Left untreated, however, depression can leave you spiralling downward and it can also be much more difficult to treat later. Women may neglect their emotions and instead, focus solely on their physical health.

Depression isn't just a mental condition and it can indeed affect your physical well-being. Several studies suggest that depression during pregnancy can lead to early labour and various other physical challenges during the pregnancy term. Your emotional help is important and a healthy, happy mother is more likely to result in a healthy and happy baby.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    Dolo - Your Question:Hi I’m 16 weeks pregnant , I’ve been dating this guy for 6 months now and we both have another kid. I’m so…
    19 January 2018
  • Dolo
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    Hi I’m 16 weeks pregnant , I’ve been dating this guy for 6 months now and we both have another kid . I’m so torn because if i keep…
    19 January 2018
  • Maggie
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    I had an abortion 1 year 7 months and 17days back. And it haunts me everyday. I still hear the tiny heartbeats over my sonography…
    17 January 2018
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    miny - Your Question:I had an abortion forced by my family I was under pressure and young back then its 8 years on and can't…
    5 January 2018
  • miny
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    I had an abortion forced by my family i was under pressure and young back then its 8 years on and can't forget the terrible thing…
    3 January 2018
  • TheLeftBehind
    Re: How to Rebuild Your Life After a Breakdown
    I underwent depression almost 4 years ago. I took up a national test and sadly I wasn't able to pass the test.…
    28 December 2017
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    MD - Your Question:It is a year tomorrow since I went for my surgical termination, I was 9 weeks pregnant, the worst part about it…
    22 November 2017
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    ED - Your Question:I've just turned 25 and I've had 2 abortions. I also have a son who is 3. And is the most amazing person in my…
    14 November 2017
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Insomnia Caused by Depression
    corey - Your Question:Hello and im corey and im 40 years old. Ive been experiencing sleep difficulties for the past 2 weeks. To…
    23 October 2017
  • corey
    Re: Insomnia Caused by Depression
    Hello and im corey and im 40 years old. Ive been experiencing sleep difficulties for the past 2 weeks. To this day Im unable to…
    20 October 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the OvercomeDepression website. Please read our Disclaimer.