Mental health is an important topic that has been often ignored in the past. Luckily things have changed in recent times and more attention is given to understanding conditions like depression, anxiety, and others. Prenatal and postpartum depression is relatively common among pregnant women and new mothers, so it’s important to know the signs so that you can seek proper treatment. About 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression. Prenatal depression and anxiety is also very common. It’s important to address because your mental health is worth it for everyone involved.
Like other forms of clinical depression, it is difficult to point to specific causes of prenatal and postpartum depression. Physical changes, especially after giving birth, may play a role. There is also the added stress of caring for a newborn, particularly if you are a first-time mother. For prenatal depression, you might feel concerned and overwhelmed about the major life change ahead of you. If you are worried about relationships and finances, this adds another layer of emotional unrest. For women with unplanned pregnancies, this can be even more pronounced. While these circumstances are not causes themselves, they can impact whether or not you develop depression before, during, or after pregnancy.
The symptoms of both prenatal and postpartum depression are similar. They include:
- Decreased or loss of appetite
- Extreme worry and anxiety about your baby’s safety
- Different sleep patterns – either too much or too little
- Hopelessness and a sense of low self-esteem and self-worth
- Shame and fear about being a bad mother
- Difficulty bonding with your baby (both prenatal and postpartum)
An important thing to keep in mind is that not everyone has these symptoms. Some are more obvious than others. After all, to some extent, most parents struggle to get enough sleep, especially in the first few weeks of your baby’s life. If these symptoms occur consistently, last longer than a few days, or if you have concerns, don’t hesitate to call your medical provider.
SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
Prenatal and postpartum depression develop either during pregnancy or after childbirth. Women who have been previously diagnosed with depression before getting pregnant are at a higher risk for developing it during pregnancy. Prenatal depression is accompanied by bouts of severe anxiety, so much so that you feel like nothing can reassure you. Hormonal changes throughout pregnancy can also influence prenatal depression in a different way than after childbirth, although hormones are a factor then as well. If you struggle with postpartum depression, you might struggle to address the emotional pain when faced with caring for a newborn. For women without a supportive partner or network, this sense of isolation and stress is significant.
HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT
Prenatal and postpartum depression are real conditions, but there’s also real help and support for you. Don’t delay in seeking help when you need it. The medical staff at Clearway Clinic can help point you in the direction of helpful resources for women in Massachusetts struggling with perinatal depression and/or anxiety. Schedule a free, confidential consultation now.