Lifting the Burden of Pregnancy Depression
Most people know about postpartum depression. But women are just as likely to have depression during pregnancy. Pregnancy does not protect against depression.
Women may have depression before they become pregnant. Plus, about 1 in 7 women have a new episode of depression within the year before and after pregnancy. The exact cause isn’t known. A combination of factors is thought to trigger depression in pregnancy. These may include changing hormone levels, chemical changes in your brain, and stressful life events.
You may have depression if you feel sad or hopeless for at least 2 weeks, with 1 or more of these symptoms:
Loss of energy
Changes in your appetite
Sleeping too little or too much
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
Loss of interest in normal activities
Withdrawal from loved ones
Headaches, fast heart rate, or faster breathing
Some women are more likely than others to have depression during pregnancy. These include women with the following:
A family or personal history of depression
Little support from family and friends
Problems during a past pregnancy
Health issues during this pregnancy
Relationship or money problems
Help for depression
If you’re being treated for depression and are thinking about becoming pregnant, talk with your healthcare provider. This is extra important if you’re taking medicine for depression.
Medicines for depression can help, but they come with risks. Having depression in pregnancy can increase a woman’s chance of having a low birthweight or premature baby. Experts don’t know if this is due to depression symptoms (low appetite or less sleep) or depression medicines, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
But stopping your depression medicines can pose a threat. It can increase the risk of depression coming back during pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare provider about the pros and cons of treatment. Your treatment will depend on how severe your depression is and how long you’ve had it.
These tips can also boost your mood:
Get help with household chores.
Talk with your loved ones about how you’re feeling.
Don’t make major life changes.
Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Nancy, RN, BSN, MPHFoley, Maryann, RN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/12/2016
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
- Digestive and Liver Disorders Overview
- Graves Disease in Pregnancy
- Lupus and Pregnancy
- Maternal and Fetal Infections Overview
- Maternal and Fetal Testing Overview
- Medical Genetics: Teratogens
- Migraine Headaches During Pregnancy
- Neurological Conditions and Pregnancy
- Preconception Care
- Pregnancy and Medical Conditions
- Risk Factors for Pregnancy
- Sickle Cell Disease and Pregnancy
- Thyroid Conditions
- Chickenpox (Varicella) and Pregnancy
- 5 Pregnancy Myths
- Asthma and Pregnancy
- Avoid Getting Stuck with Constipation
- Be Wary of These Three Items
- Bleeding During Early Pregnancy
- Ease Nausea with Natural Remedies
- Ease the Aches of Pregnancy with Exercise
- For the Sake of Your Baby, Skip the Alcohol
- For Twins or More: What to Consider in Your Third Trimester
- Gentle Approach Can Beat Pregnancy-Related Hair Loss
- Having Multiples? Take Extra Care in the First Trimester
- Healthy Habits Are Extra Important During Pregnancy
- Home Page - Pregnancy and Childbirth
- How are Low Birthweight and Smoking Related?
- How to Avoid Heartburn During Pregnancy
- How to Handle Dizziness During Pregnancy
- How to Keep Gestational Diabetes at Bay
- Keeping Up with the 9-to-5
- Manage Issues in the Workplace
- Managing Gestational Diabetes
- Managing Your Diabetes During Pregnancy
- Medicine and Pregnancy Don't Always Mix
- Planning a Pregnancy
- Postpartum Depression Assessment
- Pregnancy and Oral Health
- Pregnancy and Skin Changes
- Pregnancy: Common Questions
- Pregnancy Rhinitis: Relief for Ongoing Nasal Congestion Is Possible
- Pregnancy Safety for You and Your Little One
- Pregnant? Why You Should Know About Lead
- Risks to Pregnancy
- Safe Sleep During Pregnancy
- Steps to Reduce the Pressure on Your Legs
- Take Precautions When You Travel
- Take to the Water for Exercise
- The Lungs in Pregnancy
- The Pregnant Mother
- Topic Index - Pregnancy and Childbirth
- What Dad Can Expect When You’re Expecting