Pregnancy and Depression

Pregnancy and
Although pregnancy has long been viewed as a period of well being that protected women
against psychiatric diseases, approximately 10-20% of women will struggle with symptoms
of depression during their pregnancy.
What Causes Depression During Pregnancy?
There are several causes of depression during pregnancy:
• Having a history of depression or PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a severe type
of premenstrual syndrome or PMS).
• Age at time of pregnancy -- the younger you are, the higher the risk.
• Living alone.
• Limited social support.
• Children -- the more you have, the more likely you are to be depressed during a subsequent pregnancy.
• Marital conflict.
• Ambivalence about the pregnancy.
What Impact Can Depression Have During Pregnancy?
• Depression can interfere with a woman’s ability to care for her self during pregnancy. You
may be less able to follow medical recommendations as well as sleep and eat properly.
• Depression can put you at risk for increased use of substances that can harm both you and
your developing baby, such as tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs.
• Depression may interfere with your ability to bond with your growing baby.
How Does Pregnancy Impact Depression?
• The stresses of pregnancy can cause depression or a recurrence or worsening of depression
• Depression during pregnancy can place you at risk for having an episode of depression after
delivery ( postpartum depression).
What Should I Do If I’m Depressed During My Pregnancy?
Preparing for a new baby is a lot of hard work, but your health should come first. So resist
the urge to get everything done -- cut down on your chores and do those things that will
help you to relax. And remember, taking care of yourself is an essential part of taking care
of your unborn child.
Talking about the things that concern you is also very important. Talk to your friends, your
partner, and your family. If you ask for support, you’ll find that you often get it.
If all else fails, and you’re still feeling down and anxious, consider seeking therapy. Antidepressants may also be effective. Growing evidence suggests that many of the currently
available antidepressant medicines are safe for treating depression during pregnancy, at
least in terms of short-term effects on the baby. Long-term effects have not been properly
studied. You should discuss the possible risks and benefits of antidepressant medication
with your health care provider. He or she should also be able to refer you to a mental
health specialist if necessary.
If you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact us
Obtained from and edited by IDRAAC