If a pregnant woman can tell you how she feels, she will most likely say, “I’m tired! I want to get this over with!”, or “I hate myself, I am so fat!” These reactions are but normal. There will be bad days within the nine long months of pregnancy and most women do overcome them. But for 20% of all pregnant women, these normal mood swings and reactions can become a serious case of antenatal depression or pre-baby blues.

Most of us are familiar with postpartum depression, while we only know little about antenatal depression. In this article we will discuss the different risk factors and symptoms of antenatal depression and how women can overcome it.

Each pregnancy is unique and the experience varies from one woman to another.  As there are expected physical changes, there are also changes in emotions associated with pregnancy such as excitement, mood swings, anxiety, fear and sensuality. The question is when should a pregnant woman be concerned that what she is experiencing falls out of the normal variation?

A woman may already be experiencing antenatal depression is she has one or more of these following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of motivation
  • Difficulty in decision making
  • Anxiety or concerns that you won’t be able to cope with motherhood
  • Persistent feeling of sadness or dread
  • Insomnia or sleeping problems
  • Extreme irritability
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Loss of desire for sex
  • Suicidal thoughts

There are factors that can make you susceptible to antenatal depression. These are:

  • History of abuse
  • Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy
  • Previous history of depression
  • Previous history of miscarriage or stillbirths
  • Stressful life events
  • Inadequate support from family, relatives and friends
  • Financial problems
  • Problematic pregnancy

How to Beat the Pre-baby Blues

Talk to someone

Seeking support and treatment is vital following diagnosis. Talking about your feelings with trusted family members or friends will help ease depression and will provide a chance for family and friends to be supportive of you. Talking to your health care provider is also important. Once you start talking to people, you will slowly realize that you are not alone and there are a lot of them who had the same experience.

Slow down and take it easy

As you are nearing labor and delivery, you anticipate the coming of your little bundle of joy that you often forget to make time for yourself. You get busy with setting up the nursery, cleaning the house or you work extra hours before your maternity leave. You must remember that you need to relax and take it easy. Read a good book, go for a nice walk in the park or request breakfast in bed. If you have children, ask a family member or friend to look after them to allow time for yourself.

Therapy and counseling

If you think you have tried everything but none of them seems to be working, consider seeing a therapist or a counselor. A pregnant woman needs to seek this type of help IMMEDIATELY, if she is suicidal, she experiences panic attacks and if she cannot perform activities of daily living because of antenatal depression.

Related posts:

  1. Battling Bed Rest Blues: High-Risk Pregnancy and Depression
  2. Battling Grief and Depression after a Miscarriage
  3. Mommy Blues: Coping with Pregnancy-related Depression
  4. Depression and Pregnancy
  5. The Mother’s Act: Screening Mothers for Depression

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