Pregnancy and Depression
Whether it's called the baby blues, postpartum depression, or down in the dumps, depression can have a serious effect on the mother and the baby during pregnancy. Symptoms include feeling anxious or tired all the time, no longer enjoying certain activities, or having feelings of loss and inadequacy. Women have a right to enjoy their pregnancy, and depression is not something that has to be handled alone.
Depression can be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods. But true clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for an extended time. Depression can be mild, moderate, or severe. The degree of depression, which your doctor can determine, influences how you are treated.
Depression that occurs during pregnancy or within a year after delivery is called perinatal depression. The exact number of women with depression during this time is unknown, but researchers believe that it is one of the most common complications, both during and after pregnancy. Often, the depression is not recognized or treated, because some normal pregnancy changes cause similar symptoms and are happening at the same time. Tiredness, problems sleeping, stronger emotional reactions, and changes in body weight may occur during and after pregnancy. However, these symptoms may also be signs of depression.
There may be a number of reasons why a woman gets depressed. Hormonal changes or a stressful life event, such as a death in the family, can cause chemical changes in the brain that lead to depression. Depression is also an illness that runs in some families. Other times, it's not clear what causes the condition.