Depression and anxiety during pregnancy are quite common among expectant mothers. Some pregnant women passively handled this condition. “When it creates chronically anxious thoughts, a depressed attitude, or feelings of being immobilized,” Carla Manly, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Sonoma County says. With that, they chose to keep it to themselves rather than seek professional help.
Others didn’t even know that they have the said mental health conditions. But just like any other depression and anxiety-related issues, psychiatrists assure that there is a solution to such problems. There is nothing to be afraid of if you have these disorders. Pregnant women need to be educated on how to cope with anxiety and depression.
Symptoms Of Depression And Anxiety
Anxiety and depression in expectant mothers can easily be mistaken as being moody because “they’re pregnant.” Preggy mommies are tolerated when they are sad, or if they worry too much. People ignore the fact that the “worrying” may be depression or anxiety because the usual reason is “Oh, her hormones are acting up again.” But you know what, most times, it’s not the case. And according to licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D. “if you personally suffer from anxiety, you’re at an even greater risk of dealing with panic attacks.” If this worrying is persistent, then you should consider visiting a mental health professional, according to psychiatrist Dr. Christina Treece.
Signs That You Are Depressed
- Sad and lonely all the time which usually lasts for more than two weeks
- Not enjoying the stuff you used to love
- Not interested in your surroundings
- Feeling guilty
- Feeling worthless
- Having low energy
- Cannot focus
- Restless and not sleeping long enough
- Change regarding appetite
- Suicidal tendencies
Symptoms of Anxiety
- Worrying too much
- Gets easily irritated
- Being tense
- Sleeping patterns disrupted
- Being tired all the time
- Cannot focus on tasks and activities
- Intrusive thoughts that are recurrent and persistent
- Impulsive in finding relief on disturbing thoughts
- Panic attacks
- Fear of getting panic episodes
Risk Factors For Anxiety And Depression
Anxiety and depression during pregnancy can happen to any expectant mother. “The average length of time between the onset of symptoms—the time a woman starts feeling bad—and when she gets actual diagnosis is between nine and 12 years,” says Robert Leahy, Ph.D., a clinical professor of psychology and psychiatry. It is not alarming for some, but there are moms whose lives become at risk because of a complicated pregnancy.
Below are the factors as to why this happens to some mothers.
- Hereditary reasons – anxiety and depression exists in the family
- A history of Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Being too young to be a mother (pregnant women under age 20)
- No social support (no friends and peers)
- Being alone or living in a house or apartment by herself
- Marital issues and concerns
- Recently widowed, separated or divorced
- A victim of traumatic experiences
- Complications in pregnancy
- Financial problems
- Have given birth to more than three children
Risks Of Untreated Anxiety And Depression During Pregnancy
Once anxiety or depression is ignored during pregnancy, these may happen:
- Low birth weight for the infant
- Premature delivery
- Baby has a low APGAR score
- The little one cannot adapt well to the environment
- The mother may contemplate suicide
- Termination of pregnancy
- Postpartum depression
- Drugs or alcohol use during pregnancy
- No attachment to the new baby
- Neglecting her health
- Delivering baby through C-section
Therapy is the treatment of anxiety and depression. As much as possible, prescription drugs are not recommended unless as a last resort.
The following interventions are recommended to expecting mothers who suffer from mild to moderate anxiety or depression.
Psychotherapy. (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a perfect example. The therapist will coach the mother on how to manage her emotions and thoughts.)
Infusing Omega-3 acid into the diet
Light therapy. (Exposing the client to sunlight at a particular time of the day)
Acupuncture. (Inserting needles into the patient’s skin.)
Before you take medications, always consult a doctor. Unfavorable effects may take place if you self-medicate.
Finding Support And Specialists
If you think that you have depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor at once. She can assist you in finding a qualified professional to help you out on that aspect.