Depression During Pregnancy

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rainboots in rainThere is a commercial for HSBC on TV where a woman says about her baby "It took me three months to love him" and she concluded with "Now I can't imagine my life without him." I felt really confused.

After thinking about it more, I realized she was probably suffering from postpartum depression. But depression doesn't always happen after birth; you can get depressed during pregnancy, too.

I've had moments of feeling depressed -- mostly in my first trimester when I was nauseous all the time and sadly, it's returning now in my third trimester.

It's getting more difficult for me to do simple things like walking up stairs. I cannot get comfortable enough to sleep through the night, and my feet and hands are very swollen and ache. My face is starting to get chubbier as well. All these things get me down, yes, but make no mistake, I am so happy to be having twins and I wouldn't change that. But I do have moments where I feel really sad.

Depression is sadness, but it also can include feelings of emptiness or hopelessness. It can make you feel irritable, weepy, and affect your sleep -- either by too much or too little.

I talk to my husband when I feel this way and he's been immensely helpful, always helping me snap out of it, letting me focus on the positive. Our walks around our neighborhood and setting up the nursery get me out of my funk right away. My doula is coming over today and I'm going to talk with her about it as well. Plus, we're going to be doing some meditation and breathing exercises, so I know this will help and be a tool I can turn to when I am feeling down.

There was an article published last year in US News & World Report that says 12 to 14 percent of expecting mothers experience depression during pregnancy. It's not just dangerous for mom but also for baby -- there is a higher chance of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and having postpartum depression as well.

Women who have had a history of depression are more at risk for depression during pregnancy.

Asking for help is always the best option -- quiet suffering can just make it worse.

Some doctors suggest working on stress reduction, a good diet, lots of water, a good night's sleep, and exercise, even if it's going for walks. I've found that being social with friends and family helps...even when I am not in the mood and feel like canceling plans. I always feel better after spending time with loved ones. Of course there are other treatments, depending on severity of depression, that can be discussed with a doctor.

Oh and that mother guilt so many people feel...it's there when we experience depression, too. Diana Dell, assistant professor of psychiatry and obstetrics-gynecology at Duke University Medical Center says, "This is a brain disease, it's not a character flaw, not a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps kind of thing. You don't have to tough it out."

Have you experienced depression during pregnancy?

 

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emotions, pregnancy health