Depression During Pregnancy Is Becoming More Common for This Shocking Reason
Admittedly, pregnancy is a difficult period for the soon-to-be mother. While bringing new life into the world is the happiest time in many a woman’s life, the process to get there isn’t usually the best for most of them.
When you think about depression and pregnancy, what comes to mind? It must be postpartum depression, but this comes after childbirth. Have you ever thought that it could hit right in the middle of the gestation period?
A Significant Percentage
Data collected by the ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) shows that between 14 and 23% of pregnant women suffer from depression before their due date. Dr. Natalie Dattilo is a psychologist based in Boston, and she agrees with these findings.
She says that all medical practitioners should closely monitor pregnant women for signs of the mental health condition, especially since patients often underreport their symptoms, and medics have also been known to underrecognize them.
If depression plagues a lady who’s pregnant for the first time, Dr. Dattilo says that there’s a high chance that the condition might go unrecognized. This is because lots of changes happen during first-time gestation, including changes in appetite, energy levels, and sleep. Distinguishing between signs of pregnancy and depression, therefore, becomes a daunting task.
Also, the psychologist claims that most doctors are often concerned with the woman’s physical health, paying less attention to what may be bothering them mentally. However, not all blame lies with the professionals. She also says that due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues, the pregnant lady may fail to share her concerns with the doctor, leaving him in the dark.
According to Dr. Helen Coons, a medical professor at the University of Colorado, there are certain risk factors that expose one to depression during pregnancy. The first one, the professor says, is a medical history of being depressed, and the risk becomes greater if the depression presented itself during another gestational period.
The doctor goes on to provide more risk factors, including unintended pregnancy, life stress, complicated pregnancy, lack of social support, past trauma, depression in the lady’s family history, and anxiety disorders in the soon-to-be-mom.
Symptoms to Look Out For
Luckily, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) provides a list of symptoms medical practitioners should look out for in their pregnant clients. If your patient is ever in an anxious mood, that’s the first telling sign. If they are ever feeling hopeless, then that’s two for two.
Other signs include constant irritability, frequent energy loss, problems in decision making or concentration, lack of sleep or sleeping too much, appetite loss or overeating, and unending pains, even after medical interventions. Additionally, you should also watch out for suicidal tendencies.
Although it might be difficult to distinguish between the exact cause of your symptoms while pregnant, Dr. Dattilo insists that you should share your concerns with your doctor. If you feel as though what you are experiencing is affecting your normal day to day life, be sure to bring it up on your next hospital visit.
Doing so could be the best thing you ever do for your unborn child, because depression during pregnancy affects the development of the fetus. By arresting it, you’ll be giving your child the best start to life.
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