How Pregnancy Affects Mental Health and Wellbeing
Preparing to have a baby come into your life is an exciting time, but also a challenging one. Pregnancy brings a mix of feelings, and not all of them are good. If you're feeling worried, you're not alone.
It’s normal to have some worries and fear about what’s coming when you’re pregnant. Many women feel quite stressed at this time, particularly when they know it’s a big change that they can’t fully prepare for or control.
In addition, pregnancy itself can be stressful. As well as dealing with hormonal and physical changes, you may feel stressed about things such as antenatal tests, particularly if you’ve had a bad experience before, such as a miscarriage or stillbirth.
For these reasons, pregnancy can increase the likelihood of developing a mental health condition.
For your health and your baby's, take care of yourself as much as you can.
Depression during and after pregnancy occur more often than most people realize. Depression during pregnancy is also called antepartum or prenatal depression, and depression after pregnancy is called postpartum depression.
Approximately 15% of women experience significant depression following childbirth. The percentages are even higher for women who are also dealing with poverty, and can be twice as high for teen parents. Ten percent of women experience depression in pregnancy. In fact, perinatal depression is the most common complication of childbirth.
Symptoms can start anytime during pregnancy or the first year postpartum. They differ for everyone, and might include the following:
Feelings of anger or irritability
Lack of interest in the baby
Appetite and sleep disturbance
Crying and sadness
Feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness
Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
Possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself
It is important to know the risk factors for antepartum and postpartum depression. Research shows that all of the things listed below put you at a higher risk for developing these illnesses. If you have any of these factors, you should discuss them with your medical provider so that you can plan ahead for care should you need it.
A personal or family history of depression, anxiety, or postpartum depression
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD or PMS)
Inadequate support in caring for the baby
Complications in pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
A major recent life event: loss, house move, job loss
Mothers of multiples
Mothers whose infants are in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)
Mothers who’ve gone through infertility treatments
Women with a thyroid imbalance
Women with any form of diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational)
Postpartum and antepartum depression are temporary and treatable with professional help. If you feel you may be suffering from one of these illnesses, know that it is not your fault and you are not to blame. You can use our Contact Us page to reach out now. We understand what you are going through and we are here to help.