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Depression during pregnancy

Depression during pregnancy


According to the WHO, depression during pregnancy results from a complex interplay of social, and physiological factors. If you had depression before pregnancy that you tried to cope with on your own or with the help of specialists, then I won’t tell you anything new. The upcoming serious changes in life against the background of changes in hormonal levels are a serious reason for the psyche to fail again.

Do not try to deal with yourself, your feelings and your fears alone. Contact a psychotherapist. This will buy you time and stabilize your condition before it becomes critical. Remember: you are already responsible not only for yourself but also for the child!

Scientists have found that prenatal depression affects the child’s brain: disorders appear in those areas involved in the formation of emotions (also called amygdala or cerebellar tonsils).

If you have such symptoms for the first time, then, firstly, do not be afraid, and secondly, again, do not be too lazy to go to a psychologist. What is a revelation for you is a routine for him. Remember: depression, including in pregnant women, is treatable! The main thing is not to run them.

Three main signs of depression during pregnancy

  1. Painful depression of mood.
  2. A significant decrease in motor activity.
  3. Loss of interest and ability to enjoy.

Local manifestations of the symptoms listed above are not the basis for the diagnosis of clinical depression. You can talk about them when these signs are noted for 2 weeks or more.

Today, fortunately, the idea has already taken root in the public mind that depression is not laziness and not a manifestation of selfishness but a mental disorder.

About 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression (according to WHO)!

signs of depression during pregnancy
signs of depression during pregnancy

What is behind depression during pregnancy?

Sometimes the very selfishness and laziness stand behind depression. The gloomy thoughts that are brewing in the head of a future mother sound something like this:

  • Alas, now I will not be a child for my parents but a mother for my child.
  • I want to be a beloved woman who is cared for and cherished by her husband. And you have to be a mother who will groom and cherish the baby.
  • My youth and beauty are irrevocably finished. You can forget about a flat stomach, beautiful breasts and elastic skin.
  • From now on, I will always have to be responsible for the child, and I do not want to be responsible for anything!
  • I will no longer belong to myself. I will lose the opportunity to freely manage my time and live for my pleasure.

Suppose you are just the kind of person who does not want to take responsibility, so thoughts about future changes cause you far from positive emotions. Does this mean your depression is “fake”? Not at all! Yes, the thoughts described above look rather infantile. But after all, from the fact that someone evaluates them negatively, you will not begin to think and feel differently.

The specialist’s task is to identify the factors that influence the development of depression. And start working on fixing them. Fear of responsibility, change, and growth are all personal characteristics that are completely (albeit to a certain limit) amenable to correction. But first, we must admit that they are.

Objective factors causing prenatal depression

Difficult situations, alas, are not uncommon. Among them:

  • Unplanned pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy from an unloved person.
  • Rupture of relations with the child’s father and his refusal to bear responsibility for the child.
  • Condemnation of relatives.
  • Serious material and housing problems.

Giving general advice in the framework of a review article is meaningless. My main recommendation: do not fall into depression, do not wait for the problem to resolve itself but look for a way out with the help of those you trust. If there are no such people, do not hesitate to seek advice from a psychologist to hotlines.

What else worries expectant mothers

First trimester

  • What will happen now?!
  • What if I can’t take it?
  • How will the people around you react?
  • Why do I feel so bad? I understand that toxicosis, but when will it end?!

Second trimester

  • Is everything okay with the baby? What will the tests show?
  • Will he be born prematurely?
  • I will not have time to finish all my affairs before the birth!
  • What’s going on with my figure? He will love me!

third trimester

  • It seems that there is no turning back … I’m scared!
  • When it finally ends, I’m already tired of suffering …
  • Will I miss the moment of childbirth? Will I have time to get to the hospital?
  • I’m afraid to give birth. I’m afraid of pain. I don’t need a cesarean stitch either.

Depression or mental adjustment

Until now, you have always been cheerful, optimistic, and full of faith in yourself. You are used to living in the present, never thinking about any horrors that await you in the future.

But with the onset of pregnancy, everything changed. Now you constantly worry about how the pregnancy will proceed. It is difficult to endure toxicosis and hormonal changes (it seems to you that this will never end). You are afraid of childbirth, and for days you are twisting in your head various options for getting out of possible problematic situations of material and everyday nature …

You feel like you can’t do it. And based on all these bleak thoughts, you conclude that you have depression. But this, of course, is not depression at all but a natural process of adapting the psyche to the upcoming event – the birth of a child.

Negative Beliefs Are Harbingers of Depression

  • My decision to have a baby is reckless and untimely. Now everything will go wrong.
  • Suddenly something goes wrong. And I will have a child with intellectual or physical disabilities.
  • The future father does not need a child. He will leave us.
  • My psychological problems will prevent me from raising a happy, harmoniously developed child.
  • Our material resources are insufficient for me to feel at ease.
  • I will no longer be able to be a full-fledged specialist / I will not be able to return to work / I will not find a decent job / I will be fired.
  • With the birth of a child, I will lose all my social contacts. Friends will turn their backs on me. There will be nothing left in my life but life.
  • I can’t find the balance between being myself, keeping my freedom, and being a good enough mother.

Such thoughts, oddly enough, characterize you exclusively from the good side because they indicate a responsible attitude to the matter. Believe me, every pregnant woman is going through the same things as you in one way or another. She is worried about the same questions. What matters is only the severity of this experience and the ability of the psyche to cope with these unpleasant thoughts: to resolve the questions that have arisen or to fall into negative experiences.

Focusing on the possible negative aspects of an event is normal and natural for some people. They are called “negativists”. The downside is that these thoughts poison their lives. But they provide an opportunity to consider bad scenarios and prepare for them. The positivists are optimistic, but trouble comes as a surprise to them.

Preventing Depression during pregnancy

1. Watch your health, and get enough sleep. Eat nutritious and varied meals. Yes, banality. But not everyone follows these two simple rules. If the body copes with loads without sufficient care in a normal situation, the load increases during pregnancy. And you can’t do without taking care of yourself!

2. Make a list of what makes you happy always and in all circumstances. And try to do something from this list more often.

3. Try to get positive emotions from nature, walks, exhibitions, and communication with friends.

4. Think over the dowry for the baby, the design of the children’s room, choosing a name and other pleasant chores.

5. Think about what you would like to do from the fact that immediately after the child’s birth, it will be problematic. And do it! A trip to the theater, a long-awaited book, a pleasant purchase. Save up the fun!

I have dreamed of visiting Italy for as long as I can remember. Being already in a position (and even expecting twins!), I realized that visiting this country is becoming even more elusive. And she decided that this should be done before the birth of children … And she did not regret her decision for a second. Those walks through the foggy February Venice, and that sunny Rome will forever remain in my memory!

6. Sign up for courses for expectant mothers: there you will receive a lot of useful information and be able to discuss issues that concern you with specialists.

7. Do not read horror stories about pregnancy and childbirth (especially if you are impressionable!). Attracting the audience’s attention with horror stories is a standard journalistic move. Be smart, take care of yourself.

8. Don’t be alone with your thoughts. Find those in the same position as you (with the current choice of social networks and forums, this is not difficult). Now you will always have someone to discuss your experiences with. Knowing that you are not the only one experiencing these fears is very therapeutic.

In conclusion, I want to say the following: do not blame yourself for being unhappy about the upcoming motherhood. In principle, many of us cannot love someone they have not yet seen with their own eyes. So worrying and thinking about problems instead of indulging in a feeling of happiness is quite normal. All the happiness of motherhood is still ahead of you!