Depression during pregnancy is not uncommon. Some studies suggest that 1 out of every 10 women who is pregnant will experience depression at some point during their pregnancy. There are specific reasons that women may feel depressed during pregnancy. Fortunately, there are ways to treat depression while pregnant.
During pregnancy a woman’s body is changing drastically. Her hormones are increasing at a dramatic rate, and there are many many lifestyle changes that occur with pregnancy as well. While women who have a family history or a personal history of depression are much more likely to experience depression during pregnancy, it can happen to anyone.
There are specific symptoms that indicate that a pregnant woman is depressed. Typically, these symptoms must last for two weeks to be considered clinical depression. These symptoms include a decrease in pleasure, changes in sleeping patters, changes in appetite, loss of energy or fatigue, problems concentrating, feelings of guilt, restlessness, irritability, and thoughts of suicide. Someone does not have to have all of these symptoms to be considered depressed.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do if you are feeling depressed during pregnancy. Many antidepressant medications have been studied and found to be safe for both you and your baby during pregnancy. Many of these medications are also safe while breastfeeding.
Therapy can also help someone who is depressed. Therapy can be on a short-term basis, or a long-term basis. It might take the form of cognitive behavioral therapy, in which you learn better ways of thinking and behaving, or it may take the form of interpersonal therapy, in which you learn to deal with stressors by more effectively communicating with others.
A variety of alternative medicines exist for treating depression as well. These would include things such as dietary supplements, or herbs such as St. John’s Wort. While some women have had success with these alternative treatments, it is important to keep in mind that they have not been tested clinically or approved by the FDA. Always check with your health care provider before using these medications, as some have been known to complicate pregnancy.