Prenatal Depression and Birth Anxiety

We read a lot about post-natal depression (PND), but what about depression during pregnancy? Prenatal depression can happen to any woman, but those who have suffered from depression in the past and those with high risk or unexpected pregnancies are more at risk. If there are difficult circumstances surrounding the pregnancy or if life in general is fraught, prenatal depression is more common. It can also be brought on by an event that occurs during the pregnancy, such as the loss of a loved one.

PreNatal Depression and Birth AnxietyThe signs of prenatal depression are similar to general depressive symptoms but thoughts may centre on the pregnancy or baby;

? Feeling hopeless

? Sleeping much more or less than usual

? Feelings of worthlessness

? Change in appetite

? Lack of interest in things

? Anxiety over the pregnancy

? Feeling that you don?t want the baby

? Extreme worries over baby’s well-being

Speak to your doctor or midwife about these feelings; they may feel that you need extra support through your pregnancy and they will probably be keen to talk through your feelings with you. Luckily, talking does help, and there are therapies for prenatal depression such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which aims to change the way you thing and will help you see things in a more positive way. Your medical practitioner will also be able to advise you about PND (Post Natal Depression) as you may be at higher risk of suffering from this condition if you have depression during pregnancy. Early diagnosis makes a big difference, so try to view this as a positive thing.

You may be prescribed medication if you are through your first trimester. If this makes you feel anxious, talk to your doctor about the side effects or risks. The doctor will want to establish that the benefits of taking the medication outweigh the risks of taking them, so they won?t give you something unless you need it and it doesn?t pose a serious risk to you or the baby. It is your choice, so be well-informed and take medications as directed. Avoid herbal remedy St Johns Wort in pregnancy as it has not been proven to be safe and is not recommended.

Birth anxiety

Most expectant mothers suffer from fear or worry over the birth as it draws closer, but for some pregnant women, these feelings are very overwhelming. It can help to seek advice from your doctor or midwife as soon as you feel like this so that you can develop a birth plan that you are happy with. Feeling in control to some extent over the birth will help immeasurably with feeling less anxious.

If you feel anxious about pregnancy or birth, it can really help to talk the worries through and get some professional advice. Make full use of the support available to you, whether it is family and friends or your healthcare team. Depression and anxiety can both be made easier to deal with if you take good care of yourself ? so eating healthily, exercising regularly and doing the things that you love to do, even when you don?t feel like it, can really help.

Author: Arlene Copeland

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