Feeling low when pregnant? Here’s what you can do!
Created by Nandini Muralidharan Updated on Jan 12, 2021
An expecting mother is expected to be glowing, overjoyed and painting the nursery with fairies and unicorns, right? What many of us don’t know that about 1 in 10 women go through depression during pregnancy – ante natal depression. Even in a country like ours where any talk about mental health concerns is considered taboo, postpartum depression is starting to be recognised as a genuine problem. But few people acknowledge that pregnancy can spring a nasty surprise in the form of prenatal depression. So before we go any further on prenatal depression and its side effects let’s learn what antenatal depression is, how it disrupts with the happiness that should accompany the pregnancy.
What is Prenatal Depression?
Prenatal depression or antenatal depression is a stage when a pregnant woman experiences severe pregnancy blues and feels low all the time. It is a form of a clinical depression and can prove hazardous to both mommy and the foetal if not treated properly, since the pregnant lady is already experiencing too much stress and mood swings, prenatal depression is an aggravated form of that stress. It can also be seen as a sign of post partum depression if not treated properly.
Is It Normal To Feel Depressed During Pregnancy?
Yes, it is quite normal to feel low during pregnancy. More so if it is your first pregnancy and you are in it alone with your spouse with no or little support from either side of parents. It is quite normal to feel anxious and experience severe mood swings during pregnancy, however, it gets difficult to recognise it as a depression, considering that you are experiencing because it gets treated as one of the effects of hormonal imbalance.
What Are The Risk Factors That Increases The Chances Of Prenatal Depression?
There are four common risk factors that increase chances of prenatal depression in a pregnant lady. If you have had the either one of them even, the chances of you experiencing prenatal depression increases considerably.
- Family history:If a close relative has had trysts with depression, it does increase the likelihood of you getting it. Talk to your mom about being depressed during pregnancy
- Repeated miscarriages or unplanned pregnancy: If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while and have had miscarriages or other health concerns, the risk of depression increases. The same holds if your pregnancy is unplanned and you are not physically, emotionally and financially ready for it. Talk to someone who is unbiased and gives you a fair view on unplanned pregnancy and how to avoid any complicating situation
- Lack of support: If you are a single expecting mother and don’t have support from your partner, or in general don’t have a good support network of family and friends, it increases the risk of depression. So find a group of moms-to-be where you can share your concerns and take support from other moms-to-be
- Other stress: Have you recently been laid off work? Or have you moved to a city where you don’t have a support system? Any of these external factors can increase your risk of antenatal depression. Try to make new friends or indulge in some hobby to keep your mood uplifted
What Can I Do Come Out of Pregnancy Blues or Depression During Pregnancy?
In case you feel or experience any of the above mentioned things then it is time that you admit, and accept that you are experiencing severe pregnancy blues and you need help urgently. So do consult your gynaecologist immediately, if you are going through a similar experience. He or she will recommend the best course of treatment and refer you to a psychologist. It is important to get help early, because if untreated, prenatal depression significantly increases the risk of postpartum depression too.
Will My Baby Be Affected By My Prenatal Depression?
Yes, unfortunate as it may be. But whatever a mother experiences during her pregnancy does affect her baby. Hence it becomes all the more important to identify and treat prenatal depression on time.
Can I Get Post Partum Depression?
Prenatal depression does increase the risk of postpartum depression, however, you are able to come out of your pregnancy blues and take the entire experience in a positive spirit, you are sure to beat the post partum depression. But do speak with your gynaecologist if you are experiencing pregnancy blues.
How Can I Know That I Am Experiencing Prenatal Depression?
While most of the time you will experience some or even one of the below-mentioned symptoms, the severity and the frequency at which you experience it will let you know that you are experiencing prenatal depression.
- Feeling low all the time: Yes, we all have our bad days when that gloom won’t go away. But if you find yourself feeling this way all or most of the time, you need to take a stock of things. Do you cry a lot? Do you feel like the whole thing is pointless? If yes, then it is time you sought a counsellor and get some perspective and speak to your OBGYN as well
- Guilt: Pregnancy can be overwhelming. There are times when you wish you could just go back to being not pregnant and immediately you are flooded with guilt for feeling this way. You feel like your life isn’t worth living. You don’t feel positive about becoming a mother. Again, if this is a consistent emotion, you need to get help
- Anxiety: Some amount of anxiety is normal during pregnancy. But there are some of us who experience severe anxiety that interferes with our daily functioning. It could lead to either insomnia, or irritability or just a general lack of concentration
- Change in appetite: During pregnancy it is extremely important to have nutritious, wholesome meals. Apart from morning sickness and specific aversions, you may find that you’ve completely lost your appetite, or you are eating too much when you’re emotional. Any abnormal change in appetite needs to be reported/ discussed with your doctor
- Consistently low energy levels: It is quite normal to have low energy levels during pregnancy but if this is a consistent feeling then you really need to do something about it
Did you like Nandini’s blog on depression during pregnancy? Please do share your experience and feedback with us in the comments section below. We would love to hear your views on how you or any one you know coped up with antenatal depression.
| Jan 26, 2017
hlo nandini mam. i nd my hubby r the only members in family... dnt hv in laws nd hesitates in talking to my mumma abt pregnancy. i m 16 weeks pregnant n sumtimes i feel my heart drowning. what shud i do to stay away frm sch low feelings. my hubby cares alot fr me bt still i feel like crying alot since i cry at vry small points all da time. m 25 yrs n a wrking lady