What Is The Impact Of Depression On Pregnancy
The potential impact of depression on a pregnancy includes:
- Affecting a woman’s ability to care for themselves during pregnancy. They may be less able to follow medical recommendations and to sleep and eat properly.
- Causing a woman to use substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and/or illegal drugs, which could harm the baby.
- Making it hard to bond with the baby.
Pregnancy may have an impact on depression in women:
- The stresses of pregnancy can contribute to the start of depression, a recurrence of depression symptoms, or worsening symptoms.
- Depression during pregnancy can raise the risk of depression after delivery .
Signs Of Depression In Women You Should Watch For
In This Article:
Feelings of sadness are a normal reaction to difficulties in life. It is when that sadness becomes all-encompassing that a red flag may be raised. Depression can hover over every area of a womans life. From how you think to how you handle daily activities like eating, sleeping and working, depression can cover your entire world with a thick cloud of dark, dense fog. Depression can deprive you of energy and any feelings of hope, leaving you feeling empty and helpless.
How To Treat Depression In Women
Several forms of treatment have been found effective in treating depression in women. Therapy, medication, and self-help techniques are all potential ways to treat it. Its important to note that the same treatment often wont work in the same way for every woman. Working with a therapist or doctor to figure out the best methods is essential.
The relationship between depression and menstruation, perinatal periods, pregnancy, or perimenopausal periods should be closely examined. Any links between a depressed mood and hormone replacement therapy and birth control should be explored, too.
- Medication: Antidepressant medication is often very effective in treating symptoms of depression in women in combination with therapy. They work by controlling stress and emotion hormones. There are also other medications for depression that you can talk about with a doctor. Antidepressant medications arent a cure for depression but they can significantly help relieve symptoms.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy : Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown in some cases to work more effectively than antidepressant medication. For women who have mild depression or moderate depression, CBT can be very effective. However, in more severe depression cases, a combination of CBT and medication may be most effective.
1. NIMH » Depression in Women: 5 Things You Should Know. Nimh.nih.gov.
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Tip : Get A Daily Dose Of Sunlight
Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Aim for at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day. Remove sunglasses and use sunscreen as needed.
- Take a walk on your lunch break, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, people-watch on a park bench, or spend time gardening.
- Double up on the benefits of sunlight by exercising outside. Try hiking, walking in a local park, or playing golf or tennis with a friend.
- Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.
- If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.
How To Overcome Depression
Make an appointment with your health care practitioner if you believe you may be depressed. This could be your primary care physician or a mental health professional who specialises in detecting and treating mental illnesses . Certain drugs and physical disorders, such as infections or thyroid problems, might mimic depression’s symptoms. A physical examination, interview, and lab tests can be used to rule out these possibilities. Your doctor will evaluate you and discuss your treatment options and future steps with you.
Also making lifestyle changes by having a balanced diet, meditation and yoga, one can overcome depression, like yoga and meditation benefit from all types of depression and give you a happy mind. One should have sun exposure of a minimum of 30 minutes to get the necessary daily dose of vitamin D which ultimately helps people to tackle depression.
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Differences In Female Depression
Some biological traits can make women predisposed to developing depression. Female hormones progesterone and estrogen affect mood, so imbalances in these hormones can affect emotional well-being. Genetics and hormones can have the following effects:
- Genetics: Genetic factors may influence how depression develops differently in women. Certain genes related to behavior might put women at a greater risk of having mood disorders. Interactions with genes, hormones, and a person’s environment play a major role in depression, too.
- Hormonal: Young women report higher rates of depression than young males during puberty. The trend continues into old age. This may correspond with the beginning of menstruation, suggesting that female sex hormones account for these differences in some ways.
Strategies That May Help With Depression:
Once you have been diagnosed with depression and you are beginning some kind of treatment, it is important to have a variety of strategies to help you cope with everyday life.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Clinical Depression
- Feel sad or empty a lot of the time-these feelings may come and go, but last for at least two weeks.
- Not feel like doing things you used to enjoy, such as playing sports, hanging out with friends, or studying. It may be harder to have fun than it used to be.
- Feel irritated a lot of the time , or you may get angry or lose your temper more easily.
- Feel tired or have less energy, or you may be restless and edgy.
- Notice changes in your eating habits. You may eat more or less than you did before you started feeling depressed.
- Have changes in your sleep, either sleeping a lot more or a lot less than you used to, and/or having trouble falling asleep or waking up.
- Find it harder to stay focused and make decisions.
- Not feel good about yourself or about anything you do.
- Often feel guilty about things that you do or dont do.
- Feel that things will never get better.
- Have thoughts about not wanting to live or about hurting yourself, or you may have tried to hurt yourself.
- Use drugs or alcohol, or engage in other risky behaviors.
Juggling Motherhood With Work And Other Demands
In modern society, women are faced with lots of different pressures and are expected to juggle different demands including motherhood and full-time working. This is especially the case for women who are single parents. This can therefore lead to women suffering with stress, which can then trigger the symptoms of depression.
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Depression Affects Each Woman Differently
Not every woman who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some women experience only a few symptoms. Others have many. The severity and frequency of symptoms, and how long they last, will vary depending on the individual and the severity of the illness.
Where Can I Learn More About Depression in Women?
The following agencies have additional information on depression in women.
What If I Have Thoughts Of Hurting Myself
If you are thinking about hurting or even killing yourself, get help now. Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK .
You might feel like your pain is too overwhelming to bear, but those feelings dont last forever. People do make it through suicidal thoughts. Many thoughts of suicide are impulses that go away after a short period of time.12
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How Is Depression Treated
Your doctor or mental health professional may treat depression with therapy, medicine, or a combination of the two. Your doctor or nurse may refer you to a mental health specialist for therapy.
Some people with milder forms of depression get better after a few months of therapy. People with moderate to severe depression might need therapy and a type of medicine called an antidepressant. Antidepressants change the levels of certain chemicals in your brain. It may take several weeks for antidepressants to work. There are different types of antidepressant medicines, and some work better than others for certain people. Some people get better only with both treatments therapy and antidepressants. Learn what you can do if these treatments don’t help.
Having depression can make some people more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. But drugs or alcohol can make your mental health condition worse and can affect how antidepressants work. Talk to your therapist or doctor or nurse about any alcohol or drug use.
What Increases The Chances Of Depression In Women
Several factors increase the risk of depression in women including biological, interpersonal, personality and psychological factors.
Some experts believe women have an increased chance of depression due to hormonal changes that occur throughout their lives. From puberty to pregnancy, menstruation and menopause, women face many hormone fluctuations that could contribute to the development of depression.
Women who juggle work with raising a family, those who are single parents or women who suffer more stress as a result of their daily lives are at a heightened risk of developing depression.
Other factors that may contribute to the development of depression in women include:
- History of mood disorders in early reproductive years
- Family history of mood disorders
- Ongoing social or psychological stress
- Loss of a parent before the age of 10
- Use of certain medications
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What Else Do I Need To Know
Depression is more common than you think and most people who receive treatment for depression get better. Unfortunately, many people who have depression dont seek help. Some people think that seeking treatment is a sign of weakness. Others are afraid to be seen as crazy for seeing a counselor or taking medication. Some people feel that their thoughts and feelings arent important enough to concern others, or are none of anyone elses business. Dont let these beliefs get in your way! Depression is real and with help you CAN get better.
You can also reach out to the following helpline:
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Choosing The Right Kind Of Therapy For You
Many options are available in-person, by phone, and virtually, including:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: Targets and changes negative thought patterns
- Psychodynamic therapy: Focuses on how your depression is related to unresolved issues
- Interpersonal therapy: Teaches you to make constructive changes in your relationships
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How Is Depression In Women Treated
There are a variety of ways to treat depression, including medications such as antidepressants, brain stimulation techniques like ECT or TMS, and individual psychotherapy.
Family therapy may help if family stress adds to your depression. Your mental health care provider or primary care doctor will determine the best course of treatment for you. If you are unsure who to call for help with depression, consider checking out these resources:
- Community mental health centers
- Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics
- Local medical and/or psychiatric societies
- Mental health specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors
- Private clinics and facilities
Should I Stop Taking My Antidepressant While I Am Pregnant
The decision whether or not to stay on medications is a hard one. You should talk with your doctor. Medication taken during pregnancy does reach the fetus. In rare cases, some antidepressants have been associated with breathing and heart problems in newborns, as well as jitteriness, difficulty feeding, and low blood sugar after delivery. However, moms who stop medications can be at high risk of their depression coming back. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking antidepressants during pregnancy. Your doctor can help you decide what is best for you and your baby.
In some cases, a woman and her doctor may decide to slowly lower her antidepressant dose during the last month of pregnancy. Doing so can help the newborn suffer from fewer withdrawal symptoms. After delivery, a woman can return to a full dose. This can help her feel better during the postpartum period, when risk of depression can be greater.
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Can I Take St Johns Wort To Treat Depression
Taking St. Johns wort for depression has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration . Studies show mixed results about the plants ability to treat depression.13
It may be dangerous to take St. Johns wort if you also take other medicines. St. Johns wort can make many medicines not work at all or may cause dangerous or life-threatening side effects. The medicines used to treat heart disease, HIV, depression, seizures, certain cancers, and organ transplant rejection may not work or may have dangerous side effects if taken with St. Johns wort. St. Johns wort may also make birth control pills not work, which increases the chance you will get pregnant when you dont want to.14It is crucial that you tell your doctor or nurse if you take St. Johns wort.
Depression is a serious mental illness that can be successfully treated with therapy and FDA-approved medicines. FDA-approved medicines and natural treatments can have side effects. Its best to talk to a doctor or nurse about treatment for depression.
How To Feel Better Tip : Reach Out For Social Support
You can make a huge dent in your depression with simple but powerful self-help steps. Feeling better takes time and effort when you dont feel like making an effort. But you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day and draw on the support of others.
Getting support from people who care about you plays an essential role in overcoming depression. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. At the same time, the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. When youre depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate, while an irritable mood brought on by depression can cause you to lash out over situations that wouldnt normally bother you, further distancing you from others.
Ask for the help and support you need and share what youre going through with the people you love and trust. You may have neglected your most treasured relationships, but they can get you through this tough time. If you dont feel that you have anyone to confide in, you can find help to build new friendshipseven if youre shy or introverted.
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What Should I Do If I Think I Might Have Depression
If you think you have depression, it may help you to tell a friend, but it is also very important to talk with a parent or an adult with whom you feel comfortable. Friends are great to talk to and often very helpful, but for advice about serious issues, especially those involving safety, its important to also talk with an adult. If you dont feel comfortable telling an adult that you are depressed on your own, you might ask a friend to be with you when you talk with someone, or to help you find someone trustworthy.
Adults you might feel comfortable talking to about feeling depressed:
- Parent, guardian, or other adult relative
- Teacher or coach
- Health care provider
- Minister, priest, rabbi, or another clergy person
Any of these adults should be able to help you find a treatment provider who works with teens who have depression. If you tell one of these people and they are not able to get you help, tell someone else. You know your feelings best! Sometimes even adults may have a hard time accepting that a teen has depression, or they may not know what to do.
If you are having an unusually hard time coping with something for up to two weeks, its important to talk with someone. Meeting with a counselor may help you figure out how to cope with what youre experiencing.
Government Of Canada’s Role
The Government of Canada works to help Canadians maintain and improve their mental health, including coping with depression. Within its jurisdiction, the Government of Canada works to:
- Support research and its dissemination
- Strengthen the capacity of the primary health care, home care and acute care sectors to effectively deliver mental health programs and services
- Raise awareness through social marketing campaigns
- Conduct surveillance on mental health trends in the population.
In 2007, the federal government provided funding to establish and support the Mental Health Commission of Canada to lead the development of a national mental health strategy, create a knowledge exchange centre and reduce the stigma about mental illness.
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