Depression during pregnancy is quite a common problem among most women. The problem however goes unnoticed and unreported in most cases because pregnancy is associated with happy and joyful emotions; negative thoughts and emotions are considered a taboo.Hence most pregnant women suffering from depression prefer not to talk about their feelings openly else they be stereotyped as ‘bad’ women.
Depression during pregnancy is also referred to as ‘pre-natal’ depression and is a serious mental condition that requires help. Ignoring the condition can pose a major threat to the well-being of the mother and her unborn child.If you find yourself or your partner becoming unhappy, depressed and despondent while pregnant, then these are the signs of pre-natal depression. This condition should be dealt with immediately. Let’s take a closer look at some of the signs and symptoms of the condition to recognize them better.
Signs And Symptoms Of Pre-natal Depression:
1.The pregnant woman loses interest in everything and doesn’t like to participate in social gatherings. Her talks will mainly center on negative feelings for her life and her unborn child.
2. The mother-to-be will find it an arduous task to complete even the simplest of household chores. She will find it difficult to concentrate on performing her daily routine.
3. Mothers-to-be are known for their appetite. However, a pregnant woman going through depression will abhor the very sight of food. She will experience extreme loss of appetite and will not even display any food cravings that are typical of pregnant women.
4. Due to lack of appetite the weight gain in pregnant women going through depression will be minimal. A pregnant woman should gain at least 12kgs of weight to have a healthy baby. But a depressed pregnant woman does not look forward to the weight gain because she is afraid to get rid of her pre-pregnancy physical state.
5. She will stop interacting with family and friends. Some will even blame their partners for their condition and detach themselves emotionally from the father of their baby.
6. Pregnant and depressed women are very worried about their pregnancy and the labor that will follow the end of the nine months. They will also have doubts about their ability to take care of the baby once it is born. They don’t think themselves capable of keeping the baby safe and happy.
7. Some women might go to the extreme and try harming the baby while it is still in the womb. They may even injure themselves in order to harm the baby.
8. Women with pre-natal depression will also go through sessions of extreme mood swings; they will quickly change from crying to being cheerful and positive about the future. These moods swings will be persistent throughout the nine months of pregnancy.
How To Treat Depression during Pregnancy?
If you see your pregnant partner or a friend display any or all of the above mentioned signs of pre-natal depression, then don’t hesitate to help her out. It is important to deal with the condition so as to avoid any harm to the woman and the child. Medical treatment of pre-natal depression is very important.
However, There Are A Few Things That You Can Also Do To Help Out The Mother-To-Be.
1. It is very important to provide whole-hearted and endless support to the woman. Her depression is due to terrible hormonal fluctuations in the body that she has no control over. Please understand that her ill-feelings and thoughts are not directed at the baby but rather at her condition. Knowing that she has solid support in her family and friends will help her deal better with her state.
2. Do not leave the depressed woman alone at any times. Someone should be present with her physically throughout. She will not try harming herself or her baby in someone else’s presence. And even if she does try at least she will have someone to stop and help her.
3. Do not blame her directly or indirectly for her mental condition. She will emotionally detach from you and may even be tempted to harm the baby.
4. Make her join a hobby club or take up higher studies. If she is a stay-at-home person then she will greatly benefit from learning something new. It will also keep her mind occupied with things at hand and discourage negative thinking and emotions.
5. Gift her membership to a gym or a pre-natal yoga class. Exercising is a great way of keeping yourself happy at all times. Exercising releases the feel-good-hormones that help deal with depressive thoughts and emotions. In her pre-natal yoga classes she will have the opportunity to meet and bond with other pregnant women.
Sharing her thoughts with them will make her realize that she isn’t the only one going though this state. It is important to make the mother-to-be understand that her mental condition is only for so long; it will disappear post delivery along with the extra hormones.
6. Encourage the mother-to-be to eat a healthy and nutritious diet. Don’t talk about how good the food is for the baby; tell her about the many benefits that a well-balanced diet will have on her body.
7. Pay her compliments regularly so that she doesn’t develop any negative body image. Many pregnant women feel bad about their bodies as the pregnancy advances. This insecurity can be dealt with efficiently by a considerate and understanding partner.
8. Make your partner understand that you and the rest of her family will not ignore her upon the arrival of the baby. In many cultures the new mother is forgotten in favor of the new born. This is one of the many fears that plague a depressed pregnant woman.
Once she understands that the child does not pose any threat to the love that she gets from you, she will find it easier to accept the presence of the child in your lives. However, any sign from you that the baby is more important will have her spiraling back into the state of depression.It is important to understand that a woman who goes through depression during pregnancy will not be a ‘bad’ mother. She is capable fo taking good care of her child if her condition is dealt with and treated in time.