Pregnancy is often described as a joyous time in a woman’s life, where feeling of happiness mostly outnumber any negative feelings.
Unfortunately, similar to any other time in your life, depression can appear as a result of drastic life changes in your body and life. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that between 14-23% of pregnant women will struggle with some depressive symptoms.
Being depressed while pregnant is not something that is commonly talked about, but it is crucial for women to know that there are numerous resources that they can access to help relieve the pain.
Remember: you are not alone.
It is important to go to a mental health professional if you suspect you are suffering from depression during your pregnancy.
Here are a few things that can help you cope with this illness:
Know the difference between moodiness and depression
It is important to recognize the difference between common mood swings that come from changing hormones in your body and suffering from clinical depression. If you are having trouble enjoying anything, having trouble sleeping and/or having trouble getting out of bed, having feelings of worthlessness or seem on edge all the time you may be suffering from depression. Pregnancy can cause you to feel extra fatigued and emotional, but if it seems to last all the time it is possible that depression is the culprit.
Do not use natural remedies if you are suffering from depression while pregnant
Natural remedies like St. John’s Wort that are known for naturally treating depression should not be taken by pregnant women. The safety of using remedies like these when pregnant are unknown and as such they are not a good alternative. Solutions like psychotherapy, and certain antidepressant medications that have been proven to be safe to consume during pregnancy are superior options.
Try different therapies
If talk therapy does not seem to be helping, there are other types of therapy that might be more effective. Light therapy, for example, has been shown to be a great alternative to more traditional methods.
Seek a support group
There are always a variety of support groups for depression available, no matter where you live. If you can, try to find a prenatal depression group that you can attend at least once a week. Look into local hospitals or clinics for these support groups or ask your therapist if they can point you to the appropriate support group. Junior colleges and adult learning centers often offer these types of groups also.
Ask your spouse for extra help
Do not feel ashamed for asking your spouse/partner/loved one for extra help, whether it is with chores around the house or just having someone to talk to. It is important that you are honest with your partner and do not feel guilty for not being able to do certain things. Carrying a baby is no small feat and it is important to find extra support when needed.
Take extra care of yourself
Along with medical help, make sure to take extra care of yourself at home, as well, if you are suffering from depression while pregnant. Take long, frequent baths with lavender-infused oils, and eat healthy, wholesome meals. It might be tempting to give into pregnancy cravings with a donuts or a bag of potato chips, but this is a quick fix that will only contribute to an unstable mood in the long-run. Consider signing up for a prenatal yoga class at your local gym; that will guarantee to get your body moving and put your mind at ease. For more mindfulness, try downloading an app like Calm; it will allow you to take a few minutes to regroup anywhere, anytime.
Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com