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Antenatal or Prenatal Depression: How to Deal with Depression in Pregnancy

Depression in Pregnancy: Antenatal/Prenatal Depression 

Antenatal depression, a.k.a. prenatal depression, can make your pregnancy a living nightmare.

Feelings of guilt, fatigue, irritability and inability to connect with the life growing inside you can emotionally and physically draining.

But take this to heart. You're not weird, or a bad person, because you feel this way. You're not going out of your mind, even though you may feel like you are.

And you're definitely not alone. According to statistics, about 20 percent of pregnant women suffer from antenatal (or prenatal) depression.

Antenatal (Prenatal) Depression Symptoms

It's common to experience a lot of changes in mood, eating habits, sleep and energy levels during pregnancy. But when these changes alter your daily life, and last for more than two weeks, it may be signs of antenatal depression.

Symptoms of prenatal depression include:
  • Memory problems
  • Feeling numb emotionally
  • Irritability- bordering on anger in some cases
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Wanting to overeat or not eat anything at all
  • No interest in sex
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Unrelenting sadness
  • Thoughts of committing suicide or dying
  • Inability to be excited about being pregnant
  • Inability to form a connection with the baby growing inside of you

What Causes Antenatal/Prenatal Depression?

There are a number of factors that contribute to antenatal depression. Here are a few:
  • Relationship difficulties. Relationship difficulties, be it personal or professional will put a strain on your emotional well-being.
  • Problems with the pregnancy. A difficult pregnancy that includes severe morning sickness or worries surrounding the health of the unborn baby.
  • Infertility or previous pregnancy loss. Having emotional stress of a previous miscarriage or difficultly conceiving, increases the chances of developing depression during pregnancy.
  • Family/personal history of depression. A family history and/or personal experience with depression will increase chances of developing prenatal depression.
  • Lack of social support. Increased isolation breeds negative thoughts and emotions. If you find yourself isolated make an effort to connect with others. Community helps to build fellowship and support. Two things that are crucial to mental health, especially during pregnancy.
  • Stressful life events. A major life change, a job loss, divorce, loss of a loved one, etc. can contribute to depression.

Does Antenatal Depression Lead to Postpartum Depression?

Antenatal depression can, if not treated, lead to postpartum depression, or depression that occurs after giving birth.

But preventative action goes a long way to lowering depression after the baby is born.

How to Deal with Depression in Pregnancy

Get Some Therapy

A trained therapist can help you manage symptoms of prenatal depression by providing useful skills for dealing with negative thoughts and feelings.

The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is also great for relieving anxiety and depression. It may be a good start for you.

Get Proper Sleep

Sleep problems are often common with antenatal depression. But this doesn't have to be a reality for you. Establish a good sleep hygiene by unburdening your mind. These articles will help you do just that:

  › Relaxation Techniques and other Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Stress

Want to try sleeping aids? This could be a safe option since certain sleep aids are OK to take during pregnancy.

Make things more comfortable by using a pregnancy pillow designed to support that beautiful baby bump and relieve back pain.

This article would help you more → Sleep Hygiene & Natural Sleep Remedies.

Eat More Good Fats

Numerous studies show that consuming omega-3 fats helps to boost mood, and hence helps to better cope depression in pregnancy. As a bonus, consuming DHA, a type of omega-3, fat is crucial for improving your baby's brain development while in the womb. Read this article for more info → Foods for Fighting depression.

Work It Out

Even while pregnant, vigorous exercise will help to improve your overall health and the health of your baby. You can search for videos in YouTube for some safe prenatal workouts you can do. Here is a video by BeFiT for you:

Pregnancy isn't' necessarily a happy time for every expectant mother. If you're suffering from prenatal depression remember that you're not alone. Millions of pregnant women experience the same difficulties.

Don't let feelings of shame or guilt prevent you from seeking help.


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