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Depression During Pregnancy: Reasons, Symptoms & Treatment Depression During Pregnancy: Reasons, Symptoms, Treatment
Pregnancy is not an easy period for a woman; it is not always planned or desired. And all women undergo this hormonal storm differently – some experience an emotional lift, but some meet it with heavy emotions and stress. Many women feel an increased anxiety for the child and the future, which lead them to depression during pregnancy. Some women fear that the previous pregnancy failure can occur again.
Why pregnancy changes a person?
There are some changes in the nervous system during pregnancy. The level of hormones, which are needed for conception and childbearing, also changes.
Before pregnancy, your nervous system works hard, and it can not brake sharply and readjust to the new way. It is difficult to drastically change its usual rhythm of life and work on a new level in the process of inhibition of nerve processes. This gives rise to outbursts of emotions, depression, and bad mood.
Pregnancy should bring only positive emotions. However, many women know that there are episodes of euphoria during pregnancy, alternating with sharp tears, tantrums and a desire to get away from everyone and be alone. “Pregnant” hormones cause it: due to the increased level of estrogens a woman can experience vulnerability and sentimentality, sensitivity to words and actions, and increased emotionality.
The appearance of toxemia particularly oppresses women – especially when it is heavy and breaks the rhythm of life. Often, there are conflicts between the couple and the family during pregnancy, which makes many couples seek psychological help from professionals.
Pregnant women problems
A woman can experience an internal conflict, she is dissatisfied with her appearance, and it becomes a source of constant stress, she develops depression during pregnancy.
Her figure changes, a woman gains weight, and she thinks that all her numerous workouts and diets were in vain. Her favorite clothes become tight, shoes become uncomfortable, stretch marks, varicose veins, and discomfort may appear.
Not all women are able to assess the condition of the body adequately and realize that this is a temporary phenomenon, and everything returns to the norm after the birth. This is especially dangerous for creative people, whose appearance is a source of income (models, singers, actresses).
Another source of depression is a sexual unattractiveness for the spouse or partner due to the changes in the body and the growing belly.
Many women are concerned about changes in their sexual life. Some women, after hearing the silly myths about the danger of sex during pregnancy, absolutely deprive the partner of intimacy, and it becomes a cause of discord in the family that also leads to depression.
Many pregnant women are depressed because of constant fears for herself or the baby, especially if they had a bad previous experience, or they are very emotional, suggestible and impressionable.
The Internet and TV are full of horror stories about severe childbirth, children deformities, and horrific doctors, and pregnant women listen to it and read about it. Some of them begin to worry about it, thinking that it will happen to them; and they are sure that everything will be bad.
It is normal for a pregnant woman to worry about the health and think about the future. However, it should be limited to the care about healthy lifestyle, home improvement, and rest.
If anxiety leads up to exhaustion, and a pregnant woman is afraid of going out or interacting with people and the fear constantly chases her – she really needs help.
Depression reveals in mental and physical disabilities: permanent oppression, refusal to eat, sleep disturbance, headaches, and pressure surges. It is dangerous for both mother and child, as tension provokes the production of stress hormones – adrenaline and testosterone, which can lead to miscarriage, premature childbirth, placental abruption, or fetal hypoxia.
Depression is common after childbirth, read more about Postpartum depression
How to cope with depression during pregnancy
As a rule, antidepressants are usually used to treat depression. However, they are not desirable for pregnant women, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, because of the risk of teratogenicity (the formation of fetal malformations). However, when depression is severe, antidepressant treatment may be necessary. Anyway, you must consult with a specialist.
For any woman, who goes through depression during pregnancy, it is very important to have the assistance of relatives, even if she does not ask about it. The proper behavior of relatives will help a woman get out quickly of the painful condition. To do this, we must remember that depression is a disease that requires sympathy, but, in any case, you mustn’t plunge into the disease together with the pregnant woman, sharing her pessimism and despair. You must be able to maintain some emotional distance, all the time reminding yourself and the woman, that depression – is a temporary emotional state. Try to make it clear to your wife, that her condition is not her fault, it is her trouble, and she needs help and treatment. You should not focus on the illness of a loved one, it is better to bring positive emotions in your life and in family life. If it is possible, try to involve a pregnant woman in some useful activity.
To avoid depression or to feel its first symptoms, a pregnant woman needs to take care of herself: get plenty of rest and fun. Be sure to find someone who will help you with the housework. Do not exhaust yourself with home duties. Your amenities must be on the first place, and home affairs – on the second or even the third.
The best way is to plan your activities. You should make some efforts to create good mood;
Be sure that you eat well, even if you have to make an effort. Depression during pregnancy causes a loss of appetite, and poor nutrition increases depression. If your appetite is excessive, also pay attention to it.
As lethargy is one of the symptoms of depression during pregnancy, you need physical activity. It is useful to walk more, to do exercises.
It is important to take care of yourself. As well as poor nutrition, sloppy appearance contributes to depression.
If a woman looks good, she has more chances to feel good. A visit to a hairdresser, face massage, along with a daily shower, will cheer you up.
It is necessary to keep track of your negative thoughts. Pay attention to your thoughts; try to understand how to think rationally. And every time when you notice that your thoughts are pessimistic, tell yourself “stop” – and switch to positive thoughts.
Pregnancy is a wonderful period for any woman! Many pregnant women have gone through depression and got out of it safely. Doldrums is painful, but it will pass away!
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By Maria Shevtsova
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist. Taking action in support groups organization and social adaptation of the people with mental disorders. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the undepress.net project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who want to get their life back or help someone dear, who got into mental trap.
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