PRENATAL DEPRESSION. DO YOU KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS?
When pregnant, I had no idea what prenatal depression, anxiety, or even post-natal anxiety was. No one had ever discussed them, not in the mommy groups, not the midwife. Everyone was so focused on after the birth and post-natal depression (PPD).
The chances of developing it compared to our mothers is 50% more, with The Journal of the American Medical Association, prenatal depression is a growing problem faced by mothers.
Depression is very common in women, especially in women of reproductive age. It is estimated that 14%-23% of pregnant women experience depression during pregnancy, and 5%-25% experience depression postpartum, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG)
Feeling weepy, down or just off balance isn’t always a sign of depression, but knowing what the signs are, and what to mindful of will help you from wondering if it’s just a normal pregnancy-related hormonal shift, or something that needs to be addressed.
When pregnant, there are so many extra hormones, less sleep because you’re uncomfortable and the possibility of just being a little cranky. However, if you feel a sense of dread to the day, where normal activities are met with despair, then it shouldn’t be treated as a normal way of life.
Feelings of Guilt or Despair
The feeling of guilt and despair are not normal for pregnancy. Regardless of your situation, feeling extreme swings of guilt, and especially despair of any kind need to be addressed. Talking it through with loved ones, on how you are feeling, and what the reason for them will help you understand where the feelings are coming from.
If you’re not fully on board with expressing these thoughts to someone you know, there are trained therapists that your medical care provider can connect you with.
Thoughts of death or end of life.
These thoughts are not just simply planning for the future, and the what ifs in case something happened to you. It may not escalate to thoughts of suicide, but death in general. Worrying that something may happen to you, causing you extreme anxiety about your baby and the future.
If thoughts about dying creep up a lot, if you have suicidal thoughts, please speak to your midwife or doctor. Prenatal depression is very real.
Thoughts of death are almost always a sign an individual should seek mental health assistance. If you or someone you know needs help, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or contact Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.