Depression is more than just feeling sad. It is a medical condition that affects your thoughts, feelings, and even causes changes to your body. You may have depression if you have any of these signs that last for more than 2 weeks:
Changes in your feelings
- Feeling sad, hopeless or overwhelmed
- Feeling restless or moody
- Crying a lot
- Feeling worthless or guilty
Changes in your everyday life
- Eating more or less than you usually do
- Having trouble remembering things, concentrating or making decisions
- Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Losing interest in things you usually like to do
Changes in your body
- Having no energy and feeling tired all the time
- Having headaches, stomach problems or other aches and pains that don’t go away
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider.
Depression during pregnancy
If you’ve had depression before, you’re more likely than other women to experience depression during pregnancy. If left untreated, depression during pregnancy can affect your baby. If you’re pregnant and have depression that’s not treated, you’re more likely to have:
- Premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy).
- A low-birthweight baby (a baby weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces).
- A baby who is more irritable, less active, less attentive and has fewer facial expressions than babies born to moms who don’t have depression during pregnancy.
It’s 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. They may include your prenatal care provider and a professional who treats your depression (such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or counselor).
There are several treatment options available for depression during pregnancy including talk therapy, support groups and medicine, such as antidepressants.
Some research shows that taking an antidepressant during pregnancy may put your baby at risk for certain health conditions. But if you’ve been taking an antidepressant, it may be harmful to you to stop taking it. So talk with your provider about the benefits and risks of taking an antidepressant while you’re pregnant. Together you can then decide what you want your treatment to be. If you’re taking an antidepressant and find out you’re pregnant, 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 come back.
If you’re pregnant and you have any signs of depression, talk to your health care provider. There are things you and your provider can do to help you feel better.
Have questions? Text or email us at Askus@marchofdimes.org.