Prenatal depression is depression that happens during pregnancy. Depression causes ongoing or extreme sadness. It can also cause anxiety, fatigue and trouble sleeping. If you have this mood disorder, you may withdraw from family and friends. You may not have any interest in activities you once enjoyed.
Prenatal depression can affect you at any time during pregnancy. Postpartum depression (PPD) is depression that develops after you have the baby. It’s important to note that prenatal and postpartum depression is different from the “baby blues.” The “baby blues” usually resolve within two to three weeks. Meanwhile, prenatal and postpartum depression doesn’t go away without treatment.
Everyone feels sad, anxious or worried occasionally. It’s normal to feel this way sometimes, especially during pregnancy. But depression symptoms don’t go away after a few days. They can last for weeks or months, and they can worsen over time. Symptoms of depression during pregnancy include:
- Anxiety, excessive worrying and irrational thoughts.
- Changes in appetite and unexplained weight loss or weight gain (not due to pregnancy).
- Decreased interest in activities you once enjoyed. Or withdrawing from friends, family and social interactions.
- Fatigue, sleeping more than usual, or difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep (insomnia).
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, numbness, “emptiness” or guilt.
- Irritability, excessive crying or other mood changes or mood swings.
- Loss of interest in sex and difficulty connecting with your partner.
- Physical symptoms that don’t result from a health condition or other cause. These may include headaches, muscle aches and gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
- Problems concentrating, remembering things, reasoning or making decisions.
In severe cases, people with this disorder have thoughts about harming themselves or their unborn baby. If you have self-harm thoughts or thoughts of suicide, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. This national network of local crisis centers provides 24/7 free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
Many factors play a role in who gets depression during pregnancy. One of the main factors is having a history (or family history) of mood disorders. During pregnancy, hormone levels shift, this can affect mood. Depression can result from an imbalance of chemical levels in the brain.
Many people also feel sad or anxious about changes happening to their bodies. They may experience pregnancy discomforts. They may have financial concerns and worry about taking on new responsibilities. For those with a higher risk of depression, these changes can be overwhelming.
If you’ve had depression or anxiety before or you have a family history of mood disorders, you have a higher risk. Talk to your provider about the signs to look for so you can get help.
Homoeopathy can provide you safe and effective way of treating depression and associated feelings of sadness and anxiety. Under the guidance of a skilled homoeopath, you may find relief from feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness.