Pregnancy and Depression: What’s the Connection?
Everyone experiences feelings of sadness. They are a natural response to life’s difficult times and events, and they usually lessen with time.
Clinical depression goes beyond feelings of sadness and is a real illness with potentially serious consequences. It is a mood disorder and impacts people’s quality of life. People with depression struggle with daily life because it affects the way they function.
Relationships, self-esteem, work, motivation, sleep, appetite, and more are all affected by depression. It is not a weakness and is a condition that requires treatment from a healthcare professional.
Depression during pregnancy
It was once believed that pregnancy hormones could protect a mother-to-be from depression, but this is no longer the case. Changes in hormones during pregnancy can make a woman highly emotional, and this makes it harder to cope with depression.
Some women experience depression after the birth of a child, known as postpartum depression. It is not to be confused with the “baby blues,” which is mild depression that usually goes away within 2 weeks of the baby’s birth.
Women can also start to feel depressed while they are pregnant. This is known as perinatal depression.
Perinatal depression is a major depression with extreme feelings of sadness, anxiety, and tiredness. This illness can make it difficult for a new mother to take care of herself and her baby once it is born.
Perinatal depression may result from a combination of emotional, physical, and environmental factors. Some of the risk factors are:
- Previously having depression
- A family history of depression
- An unplanned pregnancy
- A problematic pregnancy or birth experience
- Giving birth to twins or more
- Financial worries
- Relationship difficulties
- Not having a support network of family or friends
- Smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs
Source: Medical News Today