Ah, pregnancy! It’s the happiest time of a woman’s life, right?!
If you ask any woman who has ever been pregnant, she will tell you that pregnancy is an emotional roller-coaster filled with twists and turns. The hormones raging throughout your body every second of the day have something to do with that. You’ve likely had days where you feel like you’re on top of the world and happy as a clam, while other days it may feel like there is nothing that can pull you out of that “funk.” To a point, this is normal in pregnancy. Hormones are incredibly fickle things that like to mess with us women when we’re pregnant.
While it is natural for your mood to be out of whack when you’re pregnant, what isn’t typical is feeling persistent sadness for two weeks straight or more. Sadly, depression is often misdiagnosed in pregnancy because most just want to attribute it to another hormonal imbalance. It’s important to pay attention to how you feel, not only for yourself, but for your unborn baby as well. Some of the symptoms of depression are listed below;
• A sad or melancholic feeling persisting for more then two weeks.
• Getting too much or too little sleep.
• Finding it difficult to concentrate.
• Having lost interest in activities that you once enjoyed.
• Thoughts of suicide, self harm or hopelessness.
• Feeling guilty or worthless.
• Change in appetite and/or eating habits.
If you find that you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it is imperative that you contact your doctor to set up a plan to get you on the path to recovery. Although you may think that depression cannot affect your unborn child, it indeed can. Experiencing depression during pregnancy can lead to poor eating habits, which can have a direct affect on your child’s growth and development. Poor nutrition can lead to low birth weight, premature birth and even developmental problems. Leaving depression untreated may also cause you to engage in risky behaviors like drinking and smoking, which also have a direct affect on your baby.
You may wonder what kinds of help for depression is out there, besides medication. The media has indoctrinated us to believe that this is the only way to cure depression, and this is simply not the case at all. There are many other ways you can go about treating it without medication. In severe cases, you may need the help of an antidepressant, however, that is something that would need to be discussed with your doctor. Some of the other treatment options include
• Cognitive Behavior Therapy
• Light Therapy
• Support Groups
One of the oft overlooked options to help with how you are feeling is the power of talk. Whether it is a family member, friend, medical professional or even someone on the other end of a hotline, talking about how you feel can help immensely. By getting your thoughts out into the open with someone else, you aren’t giving them any power.
Remember, this is supposed to be your happiest time! Even if you are affected with depression, make a vow to get it treated and taken care of so you can enjoy ever minute of your pregnancy!