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Prenatal Depression: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

by Dr Prem Community Writer
Prenatal Depression

Becoming a parent is a great feeling, right from the joy to excitement to stress to apprehensions; everything comes with the pregnancy. Ultimately, women have to tackle all the issues associated with prenatal depression; they feel sad, experience mood swings, unusual depression etc. as they are a more prone hormonal shift.

What is prenatal depression?

depression During Pregnancy

Depression during pregnancy is a very challenging issue, affecting your thoughts, actions, patience, and emotions; while nurturing your growing fetus.  Many women tend to ignore the emotional turbulence, which in the later stage of their life lead to changes in the sleep pattern or eating habits. Studies have indicated that depression, when coupled with the pregnancy, can be quite difficult to manage.

Experts have further suggested that prenatal depression should never be related with the mood swings, in fact, it is much more than that; and eventually can turn out to be difficult to manage health issues involving many organs.

One of the greatest challenges in the early identification of prenatal depression as well as baby blues is a reluctance to admit the issue; which may further lead to aggravation of the condition.

Causes of Prenatal Depression

Prenatal depression is identified to be very common in women accounting for their emotional vulnerability and general loss of interest. Although a difficulty seems to be minor, it is not very easy to handle and can further disturb day to day routine of life to a great extent.

While evaluating and further understanding the causes and risk factors, experts suggested that

Causes:

Depression

  • Women who have a history of suffering from moderate to severe depression in their early childhood or later are more prone to pregnancy associated depression.
  • Prenatal depressions are also characterized by physical changes, weight gain, changes in the sleeping patterns and eating patterns etc.
  • Hormonal turbulence also plays a very crucial role in a person’s well being and emotional status; they are pinpointed to be the leading culprits for a woman suffering from depression and relative disorder.

Risk Factors:

unplanned  PregnancyA person who has a history of depression in the past

  • History of any mental/physical abuse or trauma
  • Women who are a single parent or lack of emotional support
  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Financial issues associated with the childbirth, any health issue
  • Abortion in the past

What are the signs and symptoms of prenatal depression?

pregnantWomen feel stressed or generally fatigued due to prenatal depression, however, many women find it extremely difficult to accept that they are depressed. The symptoms mentioned herewith can be helpful for early detection and immediate medical advice.

  • Prenatal depression always being associated with a feeling of constant irritation.
  • Women who are undergoing the trauma during the pregnancy, find it very difficult to concentrate.
  • Women tend to always feel sad, depressed and emotionally down.
  • Lack of energy is reported always.
  • Women tend to be fat, due to the excessive urge of eating and/or drinking.

Complications associated with prenatal depression

Woman vomiting in toiletPrenatal depression has been suggested to be harmful to the developing fetus, due to multiple complications encountered during pregnancy. Studies have reported that women with excessive depression throughout their critical period can give birth to premature babies, or babies with low birth weight. Some other clinical investigations have proven that babies from mother suffering from depression can be crankier, irritable or short-tempered.

Experts have suggested that women who are on anti-depressants or other steroidal supplementation to minimize their depression or sleep disorders have to deal with pre-term births or high blood pressure during pregnancy. Moreover, consumption of anti-depressants more than recommended doses; especially in the third trimester can lead to the withdrawal of babies and/or breathing issues associated with babies or juvenile diabetes in extreme conditions.

Some generalized complications associated with prenatal depression can be noted as:

  • Increased blood pressure or preeclampsia
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Postpartum depression, studies have further indicated that more than 60% of women who were suffering from prenatal depression, can suffer from postpartum depression as well.
  • Delivery related complications like premature birth, babies with low birth-weight and/or babies with other health-related issues.

It is always being suggested that any or all of these complications can be avoided by seeking immediate medical attention after their first notifications.

Treatments offered for prenatal depression

Although it may sound quite ominous that a woman suffering from prenatal depression is being indulged in medical treatments. The medical science is so vastly progressed that it is possible to get immediate medical attention along with highly effective treatment. After the initial evaluation, some of the treatments offered during pregnancy-related depression can be noted as:

Psychological Treatment

cognitive therapyAccording to psychiatrists, two types of psychotherapies can be offered especially to women who are dealing with prenatal depression, further helping them to get out of early at the earliest. These treatments can be cognitive therapy and interpersonal therapy.  Accordingly, cognitive therapy can pinpoint the root cause or a negative emotion, due to which a person is suffering from the depression. Whereas, the interpersonal therapy, can be offered to increase inner strength and to forget the past.

Anti-depressant Medication

Anti-depressant MedicationA psychiatrist or even physicians can suggest anti-depressants, in case of severe depression that is unable to cope up with usual meditation and other practices conducted at the comfort of our home. Some modern version of anti-depressants can be effective in minimizing or managing symptoms of pregnancy-related depression.

Natural ways to prevent prenatal depression

Regular-exerciseVarious natural treatment options have been suggested to deal with complications associated with prenatal depression, which can be noted as follows:

  • Light therapy, which is characterized by exposure to sunlight at a specific period of the day. Reports have suggested that many women have expressed a positive response to the elimination of depression.
  • Acupuncture can also be suggested as one of the natural treatments to deal with depression. Through acupuncture, different neural points in the body are stimulated to effectively relax them.
  • Regular exercise is identified to be helpful, not only for being in good shape but also for improving an emotional quotient.
  • Studies have suggested that women consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can be helpful to deal with their depression or mood swings. Food such as saltwater fishes, walnuts etc. are found to be the good sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Thus, prenatal depression is a very common mental disorder, encountered in women during pregnancy. However, reports have suggested that the issue is to be treated before being aggravated; with available modern treatments.