How to Deal with Depression in Pregnancy
Even for women who have planned their pregnancy and are excitedly looking forward to becoming mothers, pregnancy can be a very challenging time. Because women often feel that they are expected to be happy and positive, it can be very difficult for those who suffer from depression during pregnancy to discuss their symptoms and look for the help they need.
There are various reasons why a woman might experience depression during pregnancy. Some may have a history of depressive symptoms and may have been advised to come off medication for the duration of their pregnancy because of the potential risk of harm to the foetus. In these cases, depression in pregnancy may be a manifestation of a more general problem.
The dramatic hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can also have an impact on mental health. Some women who have never suffered from depression before can find themselves struggling with it for the first time, even though there does not appear to be any objective reason for it.
Pregnancy is also a time when underlying fears can come to the surface. These can include fears about getting older, fears about the loss of freedom and new responsibilities, and anxiety about the pregnancy and the forthcoming birth.
Many women who experience depression during their pregnancies feel ashamed of what they are going through. Society seems to be telling them that they should be happy and “glowing,” and they can rebuke themselves for experiencing negative emotions at this important time in their lives. Unfortunately, some do not reach out for the help and support they need.
It is crucial to dismantle the taboos around mental health issues during pregnancy. Depression at this time is, in fact, relatively common, and there are many approaches that can help by mitigating symptoms.
Contrary to what many people believe, there are some anti-depressant medications that are safe to take during pregnancy. As this is particularly important for women with a pre-pregnancy history of depression, this is certainly something for the woman in question to discuss with her GP.
For all women with depression, a few therapy sessions are a good opportunity to talk over and iron out any underlying fears or anxieties that can be contributing.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a good diet during pregnancy also has an important role to play. It can get more difficult to exercise as the pregnancy advances, but some forms of exercise are possible right up until the end. Specialised yoga classes for pregnant women are a great option, and many pregnant women enjoy swimming, not just for the exercise but also because being in the water relieves some of the pressure on their bodies, at least for a while.
Above all, women in pregnancy need practical and emotional support from friends and family and should not be afraid to speak out and ask for the help they need.
WHO CAN I SPEAK TO FURTHER ABOUT THE ISSUES IN THIS ARTICLE?
For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.