Depression during Pregnancy / Antenatal Depression

Antenatal DepressionPregnancy is said to be one of the most joyous experiences for a mother and when this is the case it is truly wonderful. Nurture was established to work with the mothers and families whose personal experiences and emotions have not been as positive and smooth sailing.

For about 10% of pregnant women the emotions experienced during pregnancy can become overwhelming and hard to shift. They are different from the usual emotional changes if they last longer than two weeks and interfere with the pregnant woman’s ability to function in everyday life.

10,000 mothers battle with depression throughout their pregnancy or Pre\Antenatal Depression in Ireland every year and these are only the mothers who are diagnosed.  Antenatal depression is often overlooked because it is hard to identify and it is less well understood than postnatal depression.

Causes
  • Changes in oestrogen and progesterone contribute to mood changes early in pregnancy
  • Financial worries
  • Uncertainty about the timing of being pregnant
  • Being worried about the movement and health of the baby or lack thereof
  • Feeling uncomfortable with being out of work for a number of months
  • Feeling guilty about being unhappy regarding the pregnancy
  • Being unhappy about gaining weight or body changes
  • A family or personal history of depression or other mental health illnesses, suddenly coming off mental illness medications.
  • Lack of support or fear of lack of support after the baby is born
  • Relationship difficulties with the father of the baby or partner
  • Loss of libido and the worry that your partner will not understand your withdrawal from sexual activity
  • Feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the birth
  • Overly concerned about the birth experience and how it will work out
  • Stressful situations like a sick family member or friend or their death, moving house, job loss, divorce, etc
Symptoms
  • Feeling tearful without knowing the cause, finding it impossible to cheer up even when there is no reason to feel this way.
  • Physical and emotional changes in a woman’s body, e.g. fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and breast tenderness.
  • Emotions can be unstable, and feelings of low mood are not uncommon such as anxiety, hopelessness, fear and sadness.
  • Many women feel confused about struggling with sadness when they feel they should be happy they are having a baby
  • May feel moody, impatient or irritable, feel restless, have trouble concentrating and suffer from insomnia.
  • Minor problems may cause a great deal of worry and feeling anxious.
  • Appetite may increase or decrease
  • Feeling totally exhausted and having no motivation to do anything.
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding social contact and isolating oneself
  • Feeling suicidal or planning your suicide
You are not alone and it really is okay to talk about it

Early treatment for feeling this way is the best recovery option and treatment will help to reduce the risk of developing postnatal depression.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms please click here to see how to contact us.

If you are feeling very anxious you may be suffering from Prenatal Anxiety or if you have obsessional thoughts you may be suffering from Prenatal OCD.  You can have symptoms from each of these illnesses as they sometimes happen together which is very common as well. Again all these illnesses are temporary with the right treatment.