So-called ‘antenatal depression’ is more common than you think. Studies in recent years have shown that depression during pregnancy is more common than postnatal depression and it is hardly surprising. With high levels of hormones flying around your system, not to mention the secret worries and fears that you may have about becoming a parent, you need to allow yourself to make mental as well as physical changes at this time.
Stress and other big life changes such as moving house, bereavement, relationship break-up, or, other reasons such as: anxiety about miscarrying, physical illness and a past history of depression are all things that might trigger a negative emotional state and should be acknowledged. Read our feature on the emotional ups and downs of pregnancy for more information on this topic.
If you do not have the support of a partner, for example, this time can feel very lonely and isolating. Often, couples tend to make all the big life changes at once. So if you have recently tied the knot, fallen pregnant and moved house, chances are you are not alone! A trio of huge life changes can send stress levels soaring through the roof at the one time you should be slowing down and trying to take life a bit easier.
Symptoms of Antenatal Depression:
The classic symptoms of antenatal depression are:
- apathy or feeling constantly tired and unable to enjoy anything,
- sleeping too much,
- lack of interest in anything,
- overwhelming feelings of sadness or despair,
- compulsions (like constantly cleaning or washing your hands repeatedly),
- being unable to concentrate,
- feeling irritable
- excessive crying.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, make an appointment to see your GP or midwife who will be able to provide you with adequate support.