During and after pregnancy, many women experience ups and downs of emotions. Moments of joy alternate with periods of worry and exhaustion. This is normal. Sometimes, however, sadness or anxiety get the upper hand. This can be an indication of depression. This information gives you an initial overview of depression during pregnancy and after birth. Depression during pregnancy. After childbirth can manifest itself differently. Some women are very sad, others are worried about the child or have feelings of guilt.
Depression can be diagnosed and effectively treated in a doctor's or psychotherapist's office. There, you decide together which treatment is appropriate in your case.
The main features of depression are:
depressed, dejected mood
lack of drive and fatigue
Other psychological complaints such as self-doubt, guilt or sleep disturbances may also occur. Physical complaints are also possible, such as pain or dizziness. Some mothers have ambivalent feelings about their baby or have difficulty forming a relationship with the child. Sometimes women think about harming themselves or the child. If these signs last longer, it may indicate depression. Then it is advisable to seek professional help.
Many influences can promote depression. There is a higher risk, for example, if you have a history of depression or an anxiety disorder. Problems in the partnership, too little support from family and friends, as well as stressful events can also influence the development of depression.
Mood lows cannot always be prevented. However, conclusive data prove the benefit of psychotherapy. Psychosocial help, such as visits by nurses or midwives, as well as counseling on the phone. Therefore, experts recommend both methods to pregnant women and new mothers at increased risk for depression. The goal is to prevent a disease. It is not yet known whether medication for depression can prevent the disease during pregnancy or after delivery.
About 12 out of 100 women have depression during pregnancy. After childbirth, up to 15 out of 100 women experience depression. The technical term for this is postpartum depression. This does not mean the baby blues (crying days immediately after birth), but depressive symptoms lasting longer than 2 weeks.
In a medical or psychotherapeutic practice, a conversation takes place first. This is about signs of depression and your life circumstances. It is important to answer openly. Questionnaires can provide further clues.
Depression during and after pregnancy is usually easy to treat. There are several possibilities. The most common are psychotherapy. Medication (antidepressants).
Experts recommend psychotherapy. Studies show that psychotherapeutic methods can alleviate depression. Medications have side effects. Can affect the unborn child. They increase the risk of premature birth, for example. If you are breastfeeding, the active ingredients may pass to the baby through breast milk. Nevertheless, they can sometimes be considered. According to experts, the benefits of medications during pregnancy should be. Breastfeeding should be carefully weighed against possible risks. Whether and which medication is appropriate depends on many circumstances. It includes your current symptoms and needs. In addition, experts advise physical training. Studies show that exercise reduces the symptoms of depression during and after pregnancy.
There are other methods. These include, for example, taking hormones or omega-3 fatty acids, light therapy, massage, acupuncture or hypnosis. However, it is currently unclear whether these procedures help with depression around childbirth. Even without treatment, many women feel better after some time. If the condition is left untreated, however, it may persist longer or worsen.
What you can do yourself
You may think you are a bad mother. This is unfounded. A child means a change for every woman. It can be a mental challenge. Having a child is an adjustment for any woman. Can become a mental challenge.
Dare to talk openly about your feelings and your situation with your midwife, your partner or another close person.
Accept offers of support from family and acquaintances, for example with childcare or household chores. This can take the prere off you.
Depression is an illness like any other. Do not be ashamed to seek medical or psychotherapeutic help. It can help to take a person with you whom you trust.
If you have reservations about a treatment method, talk to your treatment team about the advantages and disadvantages.
Be prepared for the fact that treatment will take time.
Inform yourself about the disease. The more you know about it, the better you can cope with it. Detailed information can be found in the patient guideline "Depression": see "Explained in detail" below.