Prenatal depression: Causes, Signs, Symptoms & Prevention | SV

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Do you know that as many as 20 per cent of pregnant women can be depressed during their pregnancy? Often dismissed as pregnancy blues, prenatal depression is a form of clinical depression that needs much more serious attention than a temporary relief from pills to reduce anxiety.Just like any other form of depression, prenatal depression is a clinical depression that occurs during a woman’s pregnancy. Due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, there could be chemical changes in the brain that affect a woman’s mental health, leading to depression or anxiety.
Sometimes due to situational factors, the condition of the woman worsens.How would you know if what you are experiencing are normal pregnancy mood swings or if you need medical attention? The answer is that if you experience the following symptoms for a period of more than two weeks persistently, you need medical attention. The symptoms include a persistent state of sadness, difficulty in concentration, changes in sleep pattern, losing interest in things you otherwise enjoyed, doubting your parenting ability, having second thoughts about being pregnant, over anxiety, feeling guilty, or having morbid thoughts.One real concern for the treatment of mental problems is the stereotyped mindset of people who often disregard their existence.
Prenatal depression may not only affect the woman but can also harm the baby in her womb. A major repercussion of prenatal depression is premature birth. This in turn causes poor many problems for the baby, such as low birth weight, problems in development and an adverse impact on overall mental health.The best way to battle prenatal depression is to seek treatment for it. Do not try to self treat it by temporary reliefs. There are support groups, psychotherapists and medication that can help you deal with it effectively.
Prenatal Depression Causes
There are multiple factors that can cause Prenatal Depression. These include:
1. PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder): A very common disorder now, this comes before the menses starts. This disorder gets with it the feeling of being moody, irritated, fatigued, depressed during the duration of the menses. This can be one of the primary causes of getting prenatal depression.
2. Severe PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome): Severe PMS usually appears a week prior to when the actual menstrual cycle starts. Due to the hormonal changes in the body, which are vigorous at this point of the month, you may feel low and moody. If you have been getting this feeling too often, chances of getting prenatal depression are more likely.
3. History of depression: Many times, depression runs in our families and often ends up affecting us as well. Along with this, with the kind of lifestyle we have been leading in recent times, getting prenatal depression almost comes as a predisposition. However, this varies from one case to another and should not be considered a necessary condition.
4. Younger pregnancy: Sometimes, our body is not ready for pregnancy. Over the years, the female body goes through various hormonal changes and this needs to be considered if going for pregnancy at a younger age. Consulting your doctor is a good option as prenatal depression in pregnancies at a younger age is high.
5. Lack of familial/social support: During the course of pregnancy, social support is of prime importance to help the mother-to-be deal with the new changes that she isn’t used to. At times, women who do not get this support end up being preys of depression and hence, hurting their health as well as their baby’s.
6. Marital conflicts: Marital conflicts can bring with them stress that may lead to prenatal depression. This is because, during the course of a pregnancy, a woman’s body is going through a variety of changes, which may be difficult for her to understand. Hormonal changes are infinite, and the stress of a marital conflict only adds to the depression she may get into.

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