Antenatal Depression – Origins and Signs Of Depression That Occurs While You Are Pregnant

Posted on Mar 26 2015 - 12:40am by Pregnancy Calculator Online

Something like around one in four women will experience depression in their lifetimes. And though the post-natal aspect of depression gets a lot of air time, people rarely talk about the depression women can experience whilst they are pregnant. Statistically, more women experience antenatal depression (i.e. depression during pregnancy) than post-natal (after pregnancy).


Antenatal depression can have psychological, as well as chemical origins. The abundance of stressful situations a woman faces when she is pregnant (fatigue, morning sickness, physiological changes, mood swings, tiredness) can combine to terminally affect the mood. Relationships with family and significant others can be strained at these times, confounding things. Giving birth may cause all manner of unpleasant feelings or memories to ‘resurface’ resulting in antenatal depression.

Some women who are already on SSRI based antidepressants can’t cut them out completely for the sake of the babies’ health. In certain instances this can result in a relapse of the depressive state and cause antenatal depression. The release of hormones and certain other compounds associated with pregnancy treatments can also spur the onset of antenatal depression.

The risk of experiencing antenatal depression is primarily tied to your existing sensitivities to depression and anxiety. Indeed if you have suffered perinatal or antenatal depression previously there can be a strong likelihood you will experience it again. Lifestyle factors can also influence this, domestic dysfunction, low income, single motherhood, lack of support and age play a large factor.

The preference for managing antenatal depression is via therapy. For reasons of the babies safety, there is a huge amount of apprehension and discretion in prescribing antidepression medication to an expecting mother. This is particularly since certain studies point to harmful effects of SSRI’s on the developing fetus.

Therapy can include behavioural therapy, and interpersonal therapy. Mild forms of alternative therapy can also be used for less severe cases. In very serious cases of depression, a medical professional may decide to prescribe an antidepressant.

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