Sunday, July 14, 2024

How To Deal With Depression And Anxiety During Pregnancy

I Literally Thought That You Got Pregnant Cried From Happiness Felt Super Cute In Floral Dresses & A Glowing Complexion & Then You Popped Out The Baby Naive Yes

How to Deal with Anxiety & Depression During Pregnancy// My Anxiety Story

Let me tell you how it really is .

My BF & I got engaged on Christmas eve in Miami. Life complete. Literally everything Ive ever dreamed of. And the ring, oh boy did he do good. It was just perfect. I thought I couldnt be happier.

Wedding set for 2022 & in the meantime we wanted to try for a baby. Perfect I thought, I dont want to be breastfeeding during my wedding, & the baby will be old enough for a sitter on MY, oh sorry OUR SPECIAL DAY.

I went one month just tracking my ovulation the old fashion way, counted to around 12-14 days after the first day of my last period. I started taking pregnancy tests like four days before my period & really thought I was pregnant. And I cried a little when the familiar cramps & bloating came, finished off by a little blood on my toilet paper one morning.

We started to try for a baby a bit harder & bought an ovulation test. Turns out my ovulation was on day 8, not 12.

Then BAM, I was pregnant.

Took 10080 pregnancy tests & there was no doubt. I got pregnant on our first real try. How could it happen so fast?

We were ecstatic. My boyfriend kissed me, & I could tell he was very happy. I was too.

For about 24 hours. Then my hormones kicked in. It started with us going to a dinner with friends where I happily drank my nonalcoholic ginger beer. Until it was time to leave. My BF then had the audacity to want to go meet up with a couple of his friends.

Everything I loved to do, I couldnt.

My dear boyfriend tried as best he could.

A Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

This workbook has been contributed to HeretoHelp by our partners at the BC Reproductive Mental Health Program of BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services. We highly recommend this resource for women wanting to learn self-help skills to prevent and manage depression during pregnancy and after birth. This resource includes basic information for women and their health care providers, as well as advice on getting help, making changes, and preventing relapse.

Not Treating Is Risky

But if the depression is so bad that a pregnant woman is not eating or gaining weight, for instance, then it needs to be treated as aggressively as possible.”

For women at risk for depression during pregnancy — those who have battled major depression in the past or who experienced depression during a previous pregnancy — the news is good: The risk associated with the use of antidepressants during pregnancy is small.

But what should be considered when deciding whether or not to take an antidepressant, or to try other therapies first? And, what research is available to help put an expectant mom’s mind at ease?

“For mild or moderate depression, I’d rather use psychotherapy or group therapy than antidepressants,” says Hendrick, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and bio-behavioral sciences at UCLA.

But for pregnant women with major depression, the risk of a relapse after stopping antidepressant medication is greater than the risks posed by treating it with medication.

“If health behaviors are not good because of the depression, that could have a negative impact,” says Hendrick. “If a woman is not eating, not sleeping, feeling stressed or anxious — these could have an adverse impact on a developing fetus. And obviously, suicidal feelings are another adverse risk associated with depression.”


Untreated major depression during pregnancy may also cause infants to have an increased sensitivity to stress.

Also Check: Does Medicare Cover Tms Therapy For Depression

How To Deal With Depression & Anxiety During Pregnancy

A while back a reader emailed me to tell me how much the HIM & HER podcast episode with Dr. Alyssa Berlin helped her with her pregnancy anxiety & depression. Her name was Maja & she went on to tell me that she was having such a hard time finding helpful resources for people feeling like her.

Sure, if you dig deep you can find some books, articles, blogs on postpartum depression but theres nothing out there for women experiencing anxiety, depression, sadness, nervousness & mood swings DURING pregnancy.

Maja said that she is so passionate about this & would love to write a blog post for The Skinny Confidential to raise awareness & hopefully help someone out there who might be feeling this same way. Obviously I was all about it.

Can Depression During Pregnancy Affect Your Baby

How to Deal with Depression During Pregnancy? · Mango Clinic

Some women dont seek treatment for their pregnancy depression out of embarrassment, shame or guilt, or simply because they think their depression symptoms are just normal pregnancy symptoms that will go away on their own.

But studies show that untreated or undertreated depression can lead to preterm delivery, low birth weight, possibly gestational diabetes and, in severe cases, developmental delays in baby.

Over time, these problems can snowball as your baby gets older. Babies and children of mothers who experienced depression during pregnancy are at greater risk for learning delays and emotional issues, including aggression.

Theres also the fact that depression may not end when your pregnancy does. Being depressed when youre pregnant also puts you at a higher risk of postpartum depression. In fact, research estimates that around a quarter of women with PPD first became depressed while they were pregnant.

So if you think theres any chance youre suffering from pregnancy depression, ask for help for yourself, but also because your baby needs a mother who’s healthy both physically and mentally.

Recommended Reading: How Is Depression Different From Feeling Sad

Action Plan For Depression And Anxiety During Pregnancy And After Birth

Use this action plan to see if what you are feeling is depression and anxiety during pregnancy or after birth, and if you should seek help.

Note: This action plan is designed to help you understand the signs of depression and anxiety and to take steps to feel better. It is not meant to take the place of professional medical advice. If you are concerned about how you’re feeling, talk with someone now.

How Does Depression Affect Pregnant Women

If you have depression while youre pregnant, you may have trouble caring for yourself.

Depression during pregnancy can also lead to:

  • miscarriage,
  • delivering before the due date ,
  • giving birth to a small baby .

If depression during pregnancy isnt treated, it can lead to postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a serious condition that can last for months after giving birth. It can affect your health and how well you bond with your baby.

Also Check: Things That Cause Depression And Anxiety

Why Seek Help For Pregnancy Anxiety

Many women are under the mistaken impression that the best way to deal with anxiety is just to struggle through it. But if your anxiety is severe, there are a few reasons its best to seek help.

Although you might tell yourself Ill just feel better once the baby is here, research has actually shown that women who have anxiety during pregnancy are more likely to have postpartum depression after their baby is born.

So although anxiety and depression dont necessarily occur together, they are closely related and by learning ways to control your anxiety before your new little one arrives, youll increase the odds that youll be able to enjoy those joyful first few months.

Another reason to explore treatments: Long-term, severe anxiety during pregnancy can affect your babys development.

Studies have shown that anxiety or depression during pregnancy can increase the odds of preterm birth and low birth weight and even make it more likely a child will, down the road, have emotional or behavioral challenges.

Are Antidepressant Medications Safe During Pregnancy

Depression During Pregnancy & How To Deal

Growing evidence suggests that many of the currently available antidepressant medicines are relatively safe for treating depression during pregnancy, at least in terms of short-term effects on the baby. Long-term effects have not been fully studied. You should discuss the possible risks and benefits with your doctor.

Recommended Reading: Are Online Depression Tests Accurate

How Common Is It

Depression in pregnancy is very common. Around one in every ten pregnant women has antenatal depression.

I just started feeling snappy, not my usual self at all I shrugged it off at first and thought it was just my hormones playing up. However, it started to get worse. I knew I really wanted the baby, but I didnt feel like I wanted it.”

Clare, mum of one

You may be more likely to get antenatal depression if you:

  • have had depression before
  • are going through a very difficult life event, such as a bereavement or divorce
  • dont have support from family or friends
  • are having an unplanned pregnancy
  • have experienced domestic abuse or violence.

But anyone can get depression in pregnancy, even if they have no experience of anything in this list. It can happen out of the blue and affects women from all walks of life. You are not alone.

Depression And Anxiety In Pregnancy

Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand up to half of people experience symptoms of both at the same time. Women who experience depression or anxiety during pregnancy are also more likely to have postnatal depression.

It’s common for pregnant women to worry about their baby’s health, what the birth experience will be like, and many have concerns about weight gain or body shape. While as many as 3 out of 10 women experience some level of anxiety during pregnancy, some may have more severe symptoms that need extra support. Seek help if you experience the following:

  • stress or feeling on edge much of the time
  • muscle tension
  • feelings of panic or helplessness

Also Check: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Or Depression

Clinical Screening For Affective Symptoms In Pregnancy

Clinical screening for depression or anxiety in prenatal and postpartum healthcare has been widely recommended but is also potentially problematic. The issues concern what screening tools to use what cutoffs to adopt for identifying women at risk the need for expert clinicians to follow up on those women who score above thresholds to make diagnoses and, for those who have established diagnoses, the availability of affordable and efficacious treatments . These issues must be resolved for prenatal clinical screening to be recommended widely. For example, the EPDS, which is a gold standard used widely in clinic settings for depression screening both prepartum and postpartum, actually measures both depressive and anxiety symptoms, which may contribute to confusion about risks . In addition, experts have questioned the validity of a diagnosis of depressive disorders using standard diagnostic criteria for mood disturbance because they include typical somatic symptoms of pregnancy such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, and appetite changes . Also relevant is one recent study reporting that women with both depression and anxiety disorders were at highest risk of LBW, as compared with those with only depressive or anxious symptoms or none . Combinations of symptoms have received very little research attention. Furthermore, little research thus far has examined the feasibility and utility of screening for prenatal stress or pregnancy anxiety.

Antenatal Anxiety And Depression

How to Deal with Depression During Pregnancy? · Mango Clinic

One in five expecting mothers experience antenatal anxiety or depression. Fathers can also experience these illnesses, with one in twenty expecting dads experiencing antenatal depression and many more experiencing anxiety. Many expecting parents can experience both anxiety and depression. Antenatal anxiety and depression is a serious illness but there are treatments, support and services available to help you through this experience. It is important to know the signs and symptoms and seek help early.

‘I found myself quickly all consumed by doubt and fear all the time, inhibiting my ability to truly enjoy my pregnancy. I was always worried that something was wrong.’

Also Check: Postpartum Depression In Teenage Mothers

How Is Depression Treated During Pregnancy

Its best if a team of providers treats your depression during pregnancy. These providers can work together to make sure you and your baby get the best care. Your providers may be:

  • Your prenatal care provider. This is the provider who gives you medical care during pregnancy.
  • Your primary care provider. This is your main health care provider who gives you general medical care.
  • A mental health provider. This may be a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, counselor or a therapist.
  • Your babys health care provider

Depression can be treated in several ways. You and your providers may decide to use a combination of treatments instead of just one. Treatment can include:

  • Counseling, like CBT and IPT
  • Support groups. These are groups of people who meet together or go online to share their feelings and experiences about certain topics. Ask your provider or counselor to help you find a support group.
  • Medicine. Depression often is treated with medicines called antidepressants. You need a prescription from your provider for these medicines. You may be on one medicine or a combination of medicines. Dont start or stop taking any medicine for PPD without your providers OK.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy . In this treatment, electric current is passed through the brain. This treatment is considered safe to use during pregnancy. Providers may recommend ECT to treat severe depression.

The Sad Reality About Prenatal Anxiety And Depression

Finding out that you are expecting a child can be one of the most exciting moments of your life! However, it can also be a time filled with worry, stress, and even fear. Worrying about potential health risks for you and the baby, stressing about the financial strain of raising a child, and even fear of the many unknowns can become overwhelming.

In late March, my husband and I were shocked to learn that we will be welcoming our first baby in late November! Our joy and excitement was immediate, but as the weeks went on, I began to experience extreme feelings of anxiety and sadness. We contributed my anger outbursts, irritability, and many tears to hormones. But by week 14, I knew these extreme emotions were beginning to affect my ability to function as an employee, daughter, sister, friend, and most importantly, a wife, and future mother.

While having a history of depression or anxiety within your family or yourself is a large risk factor for developing prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety, shifts in hormones, relationship conflicts, previous pregnancy loss, stressful life events , pregnancy complications, and history of abuse are all potential risk factors. Often times just one of these triggers can be more than you can handle.

Symptoms of prenatal depression can include:

Persistent sadness

Sleeping too little or too much

Loss of interest in activities that are usually enjoyed

Recurring thoughts of death, suicide, or hopelessness


Change in eating habits

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Coping With Anxiety And Depression During Pregnancy

Thereare several ways to cope with both anxiety and depression during pregnancy. Oneof the most important things to do, especially if these feelings are intense orunbearable, is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will understand andhopefully provide the best course of action for dealing with depression andanxiety.

Along with their professional medical guidance, doctors will often recommend speaking with a therapist who can address the underlying causes of depression and anxiety as it relates to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They can offer support and guidance throughout the process and hopefully work with you to lessen these feelings, enabling new parents to have a more positive experience.

Some other ways to cope with anxiety and depression include:

Exercise: specifically, low-intensity exercises such as walking or prenatal yoga can be very beneficial. Exercise can help take your mind off things and improve overall mood.

Relaxation techniques: meditation anddeep breathing can help calm the mind and soothe physical symptoms of anxietyand depression. Many meditation platforms such as Insight Timer offer guidedmeditations for free many of which are specific to pregnancy.

What Are The Symptoms

Treating Pregnancy Symptoms : How to Cope With Depression & Stress While Pregnant

You could be wondering at what point does worrying become anxiety. There is a difference between “normal worrying and anxiety, also known as antenatal anxiety. If its impacting your day to day functioning, youre unable to focus on your day to day life, you are experiencing a frequent sense of panic, restlessness, or fear, have reoccurring obsessive thoughts, or no longer enjoy things that used to make you happy, its symptomatic of anxiety. Other signs of a more severe anxiety disorder can show physical effects, such as heart palpitations and muscle tension. This anxiety level isnt normal or healthy for you, but the right treatment can help you tackle both depression and anxiety in early pregnancy.

Its Really Important To Speak To Your Doctor Or Midwife If:

You feel anxious most of the time, or for more than a two week period.

Your anxiety is taking its toll on you physically. This could be having a fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, sweating, feeling dizzy, or feeling like you want to vomit and getting an upset stomach.

You find yourself repeating a behavior over and over, to make yourself feel calm.

You are experiencing panic attacks.

Negative and worrying thoughts keep circulating in your head and creeping in.

You are not sleeping well, or enough.

You have become afraid of labor, to the point that you find yourself feeling you can’t face it at all.

You are so afraid of having blood tests that you avoid them altogether or you have started to skip appointments.

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What Is Antenatal Depression

Antenatal depression is when you feel sad all the time for weeks or months during your pregnancy. The condition can vary from mild to severe and can affect women in different ways.

Some women have depression after having a baby. This is called postnatal depression.

Pregnancy can be a very emotional experience and it can sometimes be difficult to know whether your feelings are manageable or a sign of something more serious. Pregnancy hormones can affect your emotions, you may also have difficulty sleeping and you may be feeling sick. This can all make you feel low.

Trust yourself. You are the best judge of whether your feelings are normal for you. Talk to your midwife or GP if you think you have any symptoms of depression and they last for more than two weeks.

Depression is a mental health condition and not a sign of weakness, something that will go away on its own or that you should just snap out of. Depression can be treated with the right care and support.

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