Mental Health Awareness

Signs of postpartum depression and Anxiety during pregnancy

Are you pregnant and meanwhile anxious? Then give it a read!

Pregnancy is a state during which naturally every woman is cheerful and welcoming to the fortune, yet not easy-going about parenthood.

So, you might be wondering,

  • Why is the baby kicking so much or too little?
  • How will I bear the labor pains?
  • What it is to like to be a good mother yet I have no clue?
  • How the siblings will react to this new tot in our family?

Keep exploring answers for these before you have a busy baby schedule.

Is it usual to become edgy during pregnancy?

Experiencing little worry or a moderate amount of fear during pregnancy is normal just like any change that happens in life, a thrilling and exciting all together. Keep thinking on until the baby is here to smile at you.

Often heard around you, enjoy the experience of being pregnant— Why to worry?

But, if you have ceaseless episodes of being anxious, edgy, persistently low mood, you are unable to concentrate or focus on things, have trouble functioning at work or home. Having a frequent sense of being panic, restlessness, have obsessive thoughts that are much affecting your routine life, it’s time to change that myth now, you may be having anxiety disorder or depression.

Women with anxiety or depression around pregnancy may feel:

  • Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge frequently
  • Extremely sad or depressed mood for most of the time (for at least 2 weeks)
  • Loss of interest in things once enjoyed or pleased to do
  • Foggy or have trouble completing tasks
  • Low energy
  • Unusually irritable or angry 
  • Inability to concentrate
  • loss of appetite
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Getting too much sleep, or difficulty in  sleeping

What factors may pose a serious threat to anxiety during pregnancy?

Anyone can experience depression and anxiety during pregnancy. However, the following risk factors may contribute to intensifying the disorders in pregnant women:

  • Patient history of anxiety, mood disorder, such as panic attacks, or depression
  • Family history of anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) history
  • Previous pregnancy loss or fertility struggles
  • Previous pregnancy with complications
  • Unintended pregnancy
  • Use of abused substances or drugs
  • A young mother (under the age of 20)
  • Having more than three children
  • Living alone
  • Experiencing marital conflict
  • Being divorced, widowed, or separated
  • Having poor social support
  • Stress at home or work

We all have heard much about postpartum depression. But do you know that a woman can also feel blue during pregnancy? Yes, it’s Beyond ‘Baby Blues’!

So, for the women who are preparing for pregnancy, are pregnant, or gave birth to a child — Here is what you need to catch on!

Postpartum depression:

The word “postpartum” means “after birth, it is the anxiety and depression which a woman can develop after giving birth to a child. Many women start feeling depression sometime within the first year after they have the baby. The most common maternal mental health issue is postpartum depression(ppd). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, postpartum depression hits approximately 15% of women.

Antenatal or perinatal anxiety and depression:

The word “antenatal” means during pregnancy, it s describes the situation when a woman experience anxiety or depression around the time of pregnancy.  Millennial women are more likely to experience antenatal anxiety and generation compared to their mothers. Studies reveal that more than 1 out of every 10 women experience anxiety at some point during their pregnancy.

Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:

P-PTSD is a fear associated with a difficult birth and is estimated to affect 9% of new moms. Women with a history of depression and anxiety, who have experienced traumatic childbirth, miscarriage or neonatal death in their past, are most likely to suffer from PTSD symptoms.

 Facts and figures:

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have recently given birth suffer from a mental health disorder like depression. While in developing nations, the rates of maternal mental illness are even higher, affecting an estimated 15.6% of pregnant women and 19.8% new mothers.

Now the question is, can maternal anxiety disorders or depression affect the baby, if left untreated?

The answer to this is yes, very well, as a matter of fact, untreated anxiety disorders and depression pose serious risks to the mother and baby. It can lead to poor nutrition, drinking, smoking, and suicidal behavior of the mother, which eventually can lead to pregnancy complications such as premature birth and low birth weight problems of the newborn.

Studies say when the mother is under stress, a stress hormone, cortisol is produced which can adversely affect the baby’s development. Also, once the baby arrives, a depressed mother may have trouble managing the demands of a newborn and developing a bond with your baby. Research studies have also shown that women with anxiety during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.

It’s time to talk to a healthcare provider— you should go unnoticed!

Proper screening and treatment of antenatal and postnatal anxiety disorders are crucial. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a policy statement that mothers should be screened for anxiety and depression during pregnancy and after giving birth to have a healthy baby. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also recommends the health care providers to screen women for depression and anxiety at least once during pregnancy.

Therefore, it is now vital to increase screening and resources to support young pregnant women and minimize the potential widespread effects of depression on mothers, their children, and future generations.

 Getting the right help at the right hour is important for both mom and baby.

Dr. Tayaba Sarfraz

Medical Doctor | Medical Educationist & Writer Mommy of 2 | Master chef | Health Enthusiast


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