While most of us have heard of postnatal depression affecting mum’s ability to care for a newborn, it may come as a surprise to hear that depression during pregnancy is just as common. But how do you know if you’re affected?
It is thought that between one in 10 and one in seven women suffer bouts of depression during pregnancy. Jane Munro say women will be asked several times about symptoms of depression by their midwife during antenatal visits.
“It’s more common than people expect. Just as with postnatal depression, signs and symptoms can get missed, especially when women may dismiss what their feeling as hormones, or them adjusting to the changes happening in their body. But if you have a trusting relationship with your midwife, she will know you and be able to recognise these problems.”
Any previous history of depression or mental illness puts women more at risk of recurrence during pregnancy or postnatally she adds.
Pregnancy can be a stressful time, and money or relationship worries, having to care for other children while feeling exhausted or dealing with morning sickness, can all take its toll but feeling down does not necessarily mean you have depression. It is important to recognise when there may be a problem because left untreated it can become more serious. Signs to look for include:
Pregnancy can be a stressful time but feeling down doesn't necessarily mean you have depression
Most of us have ongoing worries but if your anxiety is taking over it may be a sign that you should seek help
While hormones could well be playing havoc with your mood, if you are feeling constantly bad-tempered with those around you or can’t stop crying there may be something more going on.
Are you feeling tired all the time? It may be you are struggling to sleep because you feel so anxious. You may also have difficulty concentrating. All these are signs of depression and not just in pregnancy.
Lack of interest
One of the key signs is that you feel no excitement or joy about things you would normally be interested in or feel that nothing is fun anymore. You may also find you have no appetite and don’t want to eat or want to eat all the time.
If you are feeling consumed with negative thoughts that you can’t seem to shake, maybe even about harming yourself or your baby then you need to speak to your midwife or GP urgently.
Have you suffered with pregnancy depression? Share your experience in the comments box below.