Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

Depression during pregnancy: What you can do

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Depression is a serious medical condition that can affect how you feel, think and act. People with depression feel sad and lose interest in the activities they used to enjoy. Depression is far more common than many of us realize. It affects about 15 percent of women during pregnancy and the year after giving birth. Women who have depression before they conceive are at a higher risk of having depression during pregnancy than other women.

What can you do?

Learn the signs and symptoms of depression during pregnancy. Having major depression is different than feeling down for a few days. The signs or symptoms of depression last for more than two weeks. These are the signs and symptoms to look for:

Changes in the way you feel 

  • Feeling sad, hopeless or overwhelmed
  • Feeling agitated or moody
  • Crying all the time
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Thinking about death or suicide

Changes in your everyday life 

  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Eating habits and appetite change (more or less than usual)
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering things or making decisions
  • Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep
  • Losing interest in things you used to do

Changes in your body 

  • Feeling tired all the time or having no energy
  • Having stomach problems, headaches or other pains that don’t go away

Some of the signs and symptoms of depression may be similar to those normally found in pregnancy. For instance, changes in appetite and trouble sleeping are common when you are pregnant. Nonetheless, if you are pregnant and have any of these signs or symptoms, talk to your health care provider right away. Depression is a serious condition, and it can be dangerous for you and your baby if it’s not detected and treated on time.

Treatment

Your provider can recommend different treatments or a combination of treatments. Some of them are: counseling (therapy), support groups, or medications. It is best that you and your provider discuss all these options and decide together what treatment is best and safe for you and your baby. You can also ask your provider to talk to your mental health provider to tailor a treatment plan according to your needs.

Note about antidepressants: Some research shows that taking an antidepressant during pregnancy may increase the risk of certain birth defects in your baby. However, if you’ve been taking an antidepressant, don’t stop taking the medicine without talking to your provider first. Not taking your medicine may be harmful to your baby, and it may make your depression to come back.

More information:

Pregnancy and depression

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

depressionDid you know that as many as 1 out of 5 women have symptoms of depression during pregnancy? For some women, those symptoms are severe. In pregnancy, women who have been depressed before are at higher risk of depression than other women. It’s not always the blissful, blossoming time that we’ve read about or seen in the movies.

Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood and thought. It affects the way a woman feels about herself and the way she thinks about things. Depression is a serious medical condition. It poses risks for both mom and baby. But a range of treatments is available, including therapy, support groups and medications.

It’s usually best for a team of health care professionals to work with a pregnant woman who is depressed or who has a history of depression. Team members include:
• The provider who is caring for her during her pregnancy
• A mental health professional
• The provider who will take care of the baby after birth
Together, the team and the pregnant woman decide what is best for her and her baby.

Often a pregnant woman wonders whether antidepressant drugs, such as Zoloft and Prozac, will harm her baby or herself. There are no simple answers. Each woman and her health care providers must work together to make the best decision for her and her baby. The drugs used to treat depression have both risks and benefits that must be weighed in every individual case.

IMPORTANT: If you are taking an antidepressant and find that you are pregnant, do not stop taking your medication without first talking to your health provider. Call him or her as soon as you discover that you’re expecting. It may be unhealthy to stop taking an antidepressant suddenly.

To learn more, read our article that addresses two types of depression: major depression (a serious illness that interferes with a person’s ability to work, study, sleep, eat and enjoy oneself) and milder forms of depression that are less severe.