Depression during pregnancy is common because of the hormone fluxes and chemical reactions in the body. By the time you get used to it, you are delivering and have to re-adjust to non-pregnancy levels of hormones. It can be a bit confusing and frightening.
Many women who find out they are pregnant go from total bliss to absolute despair the first month. They wonder what made them to embark this journey in the first place and may feel like crying. This is the sometimes not-so-wonderful world of hormones. Depending on how long it lasts, will determine your next step.
Hormonal in Nature
Most newly pregnant women respond to their new wave of hormones in many ways, a slight depression is one of them. The effects of the progesterone leave them tired and not feeling well. This in turn becomes a vicious cycle and causes a mild form of depression that should not last too long.
Most women tend to feel better as the pregnancy progresses and the depression is replaced by other normal symptoms. For some women, the feelings last. They hold back all their fears and can become detached from the pregnancy and that just makes the depression worse. This can become bad if kept in hiding too long. Treatment is needed when pregnancy depression exceeds the effects of hormones.
Depression is a very serious disease that causes not only the affected to suffer, but all those around her as well. She may not even realize she is depressed and becoming reclusive. It is important that if you see yourself or partner becoming distant, withdrawn, or overly weepy, that you talk to the doctor. Many things can be done and there are many medications that are safe during pregnancy. There are several signs of depression that may be overlooked during pregnancy. They look like typical pregnancy symptoms at first and even second glance.
Symptoms to Watch For
- Moodiness is a typical part of pregnancy or so everyone has heard. You can expect to change moods like underwear for the first few weeks of pregnancy. You may feel like you are on a mental roller coaster. One minute you are happy and the next sad and feel every emotion possible in between. This is normal and should pass once your body adjusts to the new hormones. If it doesnt, and you seem to become agitated and frustrated at the slightest things, and nothing takes you out of your despair then see you doctor. You may feel withdrawn and detached.
- Concentration is another issue that arises in pregnancy. They call it the pregnancy brain and this is when women forget the silliest of things, such as where they put their keys or a word. This will stay like this until after delivery, but it will be more amusing than anything. When it gets really bad and coincides with other symptoms, this could also be depression. If you cant find the strength to concentrate on the simplest tasks such as hygiene, preparing for the baby, or activities of daily life, then something might be wrong.
- Sleepiness is also one the big pregnancy side effects. Women tend to be really tired during the first trimester as hormones continue to rise quickly. This is normal and most women find they get a burst of energy after that. If you are sleeping more than you are awake or cant bear to be out of bed, there might be a problem. Pregnant women are tired, but not so tired they cant get up to do anything.
- Appetite is a tricky one for sure. Many people with depression comfort themselves with food, while others dont eat at all. During pregnancy a women might go from one extreme to the other at different times because of the nausea. You may find she is eating more at particular points and then wont eat anything for many hours. What to look for is what and how she eats, along with other behaviors. If she doesnt eat for days and wont get out of bed then asks for a huge bowl of ice cream, there is room for concern.
Eating right is a key element of pregnancy. If she doesnt get the proper nutrition she needs, the baby or mother can suffer greatly. Make sure that she is drinking water and take her to the doctor. Depression during pregnancy is treatable and should not be left till after the baby is born. This can make the postpartum depression worse or even harm the baby from lack of essentials for good growth and development.