During pregnancy, it’s normal to have feelings of depression, unhappiness, and even boredom. Every expectant or new mother goes through this as it is a new chance to your life, and inexperienced mothers will start to develop pregnancy blues.

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Being extremely common in first-time others as well as more experienced women, it’s important to know how it develops, how to prevent it, and how to manage it from spiralling into something worse. 

Why Do Women Get Depression During Pregnancy?

Depression During Pregnancy

During this challenging period, the months of expecting also entail biochemical changes in the brain as well as fluctuating hormone levels. Not only can this trigger physical changes, but also strongly affects emotional wellbeing.

On top of this, preparing for a newborn means significant lifestyle changes. These changes can be confrontational and even scary. These are all contributing factors as to why women may develop sad or depressed feelings.

Women who suffer from depression may experience these symptoms for two or more weeks:

  • Sadness without a resolution
  • Difficulty focusing for long periods
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • anxiety or panic attacks
  • Difficulty engaging with others
  • Change in eating habits
  • Stressing over small matters
  • Difficulty connecting on an emotional level with family or friends
  • Feelings of boredom and restlessness
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness

Though hormonal changes may aggravate feelings of depression during pregnancy, here are some of the reasons where it may stem from:

  • Relationship problems
  • Family history of depression or mental health
  • Infertility treatments or medications
  • A stressful or traumatic experience
  • Lack of support from partner or family
  • Other health complications during pregnancy
  • Abuse or trauma

Coping with Depression During Pregnancy

Depression During Pregnancy

The first step of treating and changing the factors of depression during pregnancy is to accept that you have it, understand what is triggering or causing it, and making a conscious effort to cope and hopefully end it. Here are a few things you can do to help you get there.

  • Get enough rest – Getting enough rest at night and building up energy after it’s been spent is will often help you with how you’re feeling. Women can feel sad and even depressed when they feel overly tired — being well-rested important for your health as well as babies.
  • Have a support network – Whether its a social group of expecting mothers in the same position as you, or friends and family who you can trust, surrounding yourself with people who can relate to you and who you can openly express feelings and emotions are essential. By bottling up your emotions, your depression can only become worse.
  • Keep yourself occupied – Instead of feeling bored or worthless, find a hobby or objective that can keep yourself occupied. Just because you are expecting a child and arranging your priorities accordingly, doesn’t mean you don’t have the opportunity to achieve or do something you want to do. Discover and practice something that occupies, engages and gives you a sense of purpose and belonging.
  • Eat healthily – Depression and mental health problems can lead to undereating or overeating, which is both very bad for your wellbeing as well as the health of the baby. Make sure you are eating foods that are nutritious and keep you feeling at your best. 
  • Exercise adequately – While depressed, it can become tough to find the motivation to get active, especially when you’ve got a baby on the way. But that doesn’t mean you should completely stop it. Getting adequate exercise, even if it’s just walking or working in the garden, physical activity will help you stay in shape, feel better as well as help you get out of the gloom of your home.
  • Identify what helps you to relax – People with depression will often find it hard to relax or unwind. Whether its depression, anxiety or stress, identifying what helps you to calm down and unwind is half the battle. It’s good to experience different types of relaxation methods and determine what works best for you. Whether it’s reading a book or practising yoga, keep searching for the perfect relaxation practice that works for you. 
  • Be encouraged – It’s not easy to adjust to the lifestyle and changes in expecting a newborn. Not only is it scary, but your body isn’t feeling its best. Always remember that there is nothing time can’t fix. Be encouraged that better and more rewarding days are ahead. Every mother goes through the same experience and has come out the other side perfectly fine, and so will you. 

When to See a Doctor

Depression During Pregnancy

If you have emotional problems or facing mental health issues, it’s important to seek advice from a professional psychologist, therapist, or support group.

If your mental state is affecting your lifestyle and affects your diet, nutritional intake and exercise habits, seek the attention of your doctor as soon as possible as it may affect the health of the baby as well. 

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.