Research has shown that up to a quarter of women who are pregnant experience anxiety and depression during their pregnancy. Yet, according to some studies, less than 20% of those women seek help for these symptoms. Being anxious and depressed during a pregnancy can be hard to talk about, because in our society, being pregnant is something a woman is expected to enjoy.
Depression during pregnancy
Depression during pregnancy, also sometimes called antepartum depression, is a mood disorder just like any other type of clinical depression. Mood disorders are biological illnesses that involve changes in brain chemistry. They’re also sometimes triggered by the things you surround yourself with.
During pregnancy, hormone changes can affect your brain, which is directly related to depression and anxiety. These can be exacerbated by difficult life situations, which can result in depression during pregnancy. So in short: because of the change your body goes through when pregnant, it’s not uncommon to develop depression and anxiety.
When anxiety and depression go untreated during a pregnancy
There are well documented, but often overlooked, consequences of untreated depression and anxiety during pregnancy for the baby and the mother. Risks to developing babies whose mothers have untreated depression or anxiety during pregnancy include:
- Low birthweight
- Premature birth (before 37 weeks)
- Low APGAR score (which rates a newborn’s health after delivery)
- Poor adaptation after being born
- Portpartum depression
- Pregnancy termination
- Postpartum depression or anxiety
- Use of substances such as alcohol or drugs while pregnant or after pregnancy
- Impaired attachment to the baby
- Not taking good care of her physical health
- Preterm labor
- Having a C-section
Yoga cannot only help you to put the thing in perspective, but it can also help you to feel less stressed. While being pregnant, practising yoga can help you feel fit without doing intensive workouts. Of course, when you’re pregnant you cannot do certain yoga poses, and it’s important to go to a class or follow a video that fits your needs.
Getting enough sleep
When you’re pregnant, getting enough sleep is not easy. Many women experience anxiety when pregnant, so getting enough sleep is even harder then. To help getting enough sleep, it’s important to wind down at the end of the day. Try taking a bath or getting some exercise at the end of the day. Reading a book, watching a tv show and drinking tea can also help.
Finding a good support network or even just talking with friends is incredibly important. Talk about your problems and don’t feel ashamed, because there is nothing to be ashamed about! Support groups are an excellent way to meet like-minded people, and who knows, maybe you’ll make some friends along the way when you find out that other people are dealing with the same emotions. If you have a partner, make sure to talk to them about your feelings also. It’s important that they know how you feel so they can help you out where they can.
Get professional help
If your symptoms of depression start to interfere with your daily life, we urge you to think about getting professional help. You might think that all of these symptoms will subside as soon as your baby is born, and they might, but you never know. It can never hurt to talk to a professional about what is going on with your life.
If you were already on medication before getting pregnant, ask your doctor if you should continue with them while being pregnant. Depending on the medication, they might advise against it. Your doctor can help you decide how serious your symptoms are and what the best course of action is.
Practice: Pregnancy yoga
Only for you: ‘’The most important thing she’d learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.’’