What is antenatal depression and when does it end?

You must have heard about postpartum depression, which many women suffer from. However, there isn’t enough information about antenatal depression or depression during pregnancy. In this article, we will shed the light on this type of depression, to provide more information and support in the field of women’s mental health.

Feb 26th 2023
Antenatal depression

What is depression?

Depression is a psychological disorder that directly affects the mood, it causes deep sadness, loss of interest in many things, and hopelessness. This disorder if left untreated, or if it lasts too long can affect the daily life of the affected person.

  • Risk factors
  •  Previous diagnosis of depression.
  • Stress.
  • Extreme anxiety.
  • Being a single mom.
  •   Having an unplanned pregnancy.
  • Suffering from domestic violence.
  •   Not having health insurance that covers pregnancy and delivery.
  • Smoking.
  •    Marital problems.
  •  Poverty.

Causes of depression during pregnancy

Antenatal depression happens for many reasons mostly due to changes that occur during pregnancy, whether physical like weight increase, changes in body shape, or the effects on skin and hair. Or due to hormonal changes that can cause mood swings, pregnancy blues, and depression.

Symptoms of antenatal depression

  • Feeling sad and crying very often.
  •   Being irritable.
  •  Losing interest in those around you.
  •  Having negative thoughts like not being able to take care of the baby, fear of miscarriage, or Tokophobia.
  •  Having eating disorders, like losing appetite or overeating.
  •  Felling guilty and constantly blaming yourself.
  • Difficulty concentrating and not being able to make decisions.

The effect of depression on the fetus

Depression during pregnancy can affect the mother’s health especially if she fails to follow a healthy diet, or a healthy lifestyle, which makes her prone to pregnancy complications. Depression can disrupt the mom-fetus connection, which studies showed has a great effect on the physical and emotional health of the fetus.

Treatment of antenatal depression

  1. Following a healthy lifestyle, exercising and eating a healthy diet.
  2. Doing Yoga, breathing, and relaxation exercises.
  3.  Talking to a friend or a trusted person about your feelings.
  4. Attending classes about pregnancy, birth, and baby care. 
  5. Having a fun and useful hobby. 
  6. Getting professional help like psychological therapy, proved successful, especially CBT.
  7. Talk to a psychiatrist to get a prescription for antidepressants.

When does it end?

There is no specific timeline for this type of depression. It can last a few weeks or a whole nine months. It depends on the help the affected woman is getting. The important thing is not to ignore the symptoms, to follow a healthy lifestyle, and to get assistance.


Also read Postpartum depression: the untold story!



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