We don’t seem to hear much about antenatal depression (AD) compared to postnatal depression. Yet up to 10% of women experience this whilst pregnant, which unfortunately develops into postnatal depression in 80% of cases.
What is Antenatal Depression?
Many women can feel low and anxious during pregnancy, but if these feelings and thoughts continue then they can develop into AD. Midwives are better than ever before at assessing depression but if you do feel any of the following symptoms, let them know so that they can help you start to feel better.
Symptoms of Antenatal Depression:
- Mood swings and/or restlessness
- Trouble sleeping
- Constant fatigue
- Finding it difficult to find fun or joy in things
- Feeling hopeless
This is not a complete list of symptoms and AD can affect everyone differently; always remember that if anything feels different during pregnancy, no matter how big or small, it’s always best to let the midwives know.
What causes it?
As with other forms of depression, many physical, social and emotional factors can be identified root causes of AD.
Many women experience extreme sickness and tiredness during pregnancy as the body goes through rigorous changes. The heart is hard at work pumping more blood around the body, while pregnancy hormones cause mood swings amongst other things. All these could come as a shock for first-time mums-to-be.
Becoming pregnant is a huge life-changer and thus, many women struggle to adjust to this change. From worries about not being able to love their babies, to changing relationship dynamics with their partner; anxiety can take hold. Those who have experienced a previous miscarriage or still born can have dreading periods of anxiety, feeling that something may go wrong.
As stated, having a baby is a life-changing experience, one that could change the dynamics of your life. On top of this, many couples face financial stress due to the possible loss of income and increased expenses.
So many women who suffer from AD feel embarrassed to tell others about what they are feeling. They feel that they should be happy and feeling upset would be frowned-upon on not understood. This is not the case. This blessed time in your life comes with so many changes, you always need people around you for support, as well as trying things yourself.
What can help?
There are certain things you can to lighten your mood, however you may find it difficult to find the motivation to do it.
- Try not to get over-tired – make sure you take some time out during the day, just for yourself
- Make friends with other women who are expecting. You can even try joining a group of mothers on websites such as Mumsnet, for example
- Let family and friends know how you are feeling, as well as your doctor and midwife
- Exercising could help – this produces endorphins, a gentle walk might just be the perfect amount
- Meditation and other relaxation techniques could help too
Don’t forget to get plenty of rest. This is where our full body pregnancy pillows can help. The U Shape Pregnancy Pillow for example, wraps around your body, relieving pressure and giving you the comfort you need for the perfect nap.
Pregnancy can get overwhelming at times. We hope the tips above will bring you some comfort during this special time, and hope that this is a wonderful experience in your life.