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Are You Suffering From Depression During Your Pregnancy?

Alison Wood | 6, November 2012


After the grand finale of labor, birth and delivery women across the globe brace for "the baby blues." Since it's quite common older generations have already forewarned the soon-to-be emotionally unbalanced mothers of the hormonal days ahead. But what about depression during pregnancy? Does that actually happen? Aren't all women smiling, giggling and giddy over picking out the little shoes, little diapers and little hats?

Contrary to the stereo-typical bubbly mom-to-be, studies suggest that 10-20% of expectant mothers will become depressed during pregnancy. Unfortunately, prenatal depression can cause many negative and harmful effects to the unborn baby. Symptoms of depression during pregnancy are:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Decreased appetite
  • Uninterested in favorite activities
  • Doesn't want to discuss the pregnancy
  • Wants to be alone frequently
  • Doesn't smile or laugh
  • Starts drinking alcohol or smoking
  • Misses prenatal doctor appointments
  • Crying frequently

Nearly all pregnant mothers desire the very best for their babies. They religiously take their prenatal vitamins, drink plenty of water, cut out caffeine, stop smoking and make many other beneficial health decisions. Naturally, these moms are also going to want to know how to prevent prenatal depression. Here are some helpful ideas to boost mental health and curb those unhealthy thoughts of depression.

1. Exercise.
Burning calories naturally creates endorphins, which are smile-inducing chemicals. An unplanned pregnancy, marital problems, family problems and financial problems can add a enormous burden on the mommy-to-be. Routine exercise is an effective method for dealing with stress. Happy endorphins kick in and stress is kicked out. Sometimes a very weight-conscious individual can also become depressed in pregnancy from the reality of a growing bump. It is inevitable that the bump will grow, but frequent, moderate exercise can keep the rest of the body looking fit and fab.

Exercising While Pregnant

2. Cut out sugar, caffeine and simple carbohydrates.
These foods can have a short energy boost effect, and then can cause sugar to come crashing down. Fatigue, irritability and shakiness are just a few of the effects from these tempting foods.

3. Rest.
As the little bambino grows, sleep becomes a luxury of the past. Too many missed ZZZs can be a trigger of depression. Grab some extra pillows for comfort. Try placing them between your legs or under your arms. You could also opt for buying a pregnancy or body pillow. Comfort is important to give your body the rest it needs. Try sporting a cute sleeping mask if light disturbs your sleep.

How to Sleep Better During Pregnancy

4. Find support.
Seek out friends and family that will lend a listening ear to your pregnancy blues. Experienced mothers can help soothe many of your fears about the upcoming birth. Scout out someone that would be available to go out for a quick snack and encouraging talk. Don't try to battle this alone.

5. Relax.

Pregnant bodies are undergoing many changes at an accelerated rate. Incorporating relaxation techniques into the daily pregnancy routine can aid in a happier pregnancy. Some quick relaxation tips are:

- Take a long, hot bath and soak the stress away. Add flower petals for a sweet-smelling garnish. Tealight candles can add a soft ambience to the room. Always check with the obstetrician about when hot baths are no longer safe during pregnancy.

- Go for a short stroll outside. Fresh air and a change of scenery tends to lift the spirits.

- Breathe deep and slow. Add some stretches for an extra stress buster.

- Get a massage. Check around for bump-friendly massages and massage tables. Massages specially designed for pregnancy can improve circulation and relieve stress.

At the beginning of prenatal depression, it is best to try the above methods to de-stress, relax and promote positive thinking. Antidepressants should be avoided as much as possible during pregnancy. The majority of these medicines pass to the placenta. The immediate and long term effects of antidepressants on the baby are unknown at this time.

Women whose depression continues to spiral down and becomes uncontrolled may hallucinate, experience increased confusion and entertain suicidal thoughts. The mother and baby could be seriously harmed. In such instances, seek professional medical immediately.

With preventative measures, lots of support and professional help if needed, prenatal depression can be cured and mommy and baby can live happily ever after.

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