Pregnancy depression: When the baby in the belly makes you downNot every woman experiences pregnancy as a happy time: Almost one in ten develops pregnancy depression during this phase. Symptoms such as listlessness, feelings of guilt and dejection can have a particularly strong impact on the daily lives of those affected, especially in the first and last trimesters of pregnancy.
Most know the , the so-called baby blues. Less known is that depression is also common during pregnancy.
Depression can occur at all stages of pregnancy
At the beginning of pregnancy, the cause of a Pregnancy depression often that the new life situation can trigger quite mixed feelings: In addition to the joy of having a child, there may also be strong anxiety. Some women feel overwhelmed by the pregnancy, are worried about doing something wrong and/or fear for the health of the child.
Pregnancy depression also occurs more frequently in the last trimester of pregnancy than in the middle phase of pregnancy. The reason: the approaching birth and the fears and worries associated with it can throw the emotional state out of balance. The increase in physical complaints can also be a burden for some women. Thus favor the occurrence of a depression during pregnancy.
Symptoms: How to recognize pregnancy depression?
Gestational diabetes is not always recognizable at first glance. Symptoms of classic depression – such as loss of appetite, loss of libido and fatigue – often also occur during a normal pregnancy.
However, if expectant mothers experience feelings of listlessness and hopelessness for at least two weeks, they may be experiencing pregnancy depression.
Other clear signs of depression include massive feelings of guilt or even suicidal thoughts. In addition, pregnant women who are affected by depression often neglect prenatal care.
The special feature of depression during pregnancy is that the symptoms are not only noticeable in the mother: they can also appear in the unborn child. For example, the development of the child may be delayed. In addition, depression during pregnancy can cause premature birth.
Pregnant and depressed? Get help!
If left untreated, pregnancy depression can seamlessly transition into postpartum depression. If you recognize signs of pregnancy depression in yourself, it is therefore advisable to talk to your doctor and describe the symptoms to him or her. The following applies: Better to ask once too much than too little. The doctor can clarify whether only a temporary mood swing or a depression is present. For this purpose, special questionnaires are available, for example, to help with the assessment.
If it is only a mild depressive mood, a consultation with an obstetrician or gynecologist is sufficient for most pregnant women. In more severe cases, psychotherapy can help. In addition, there are also drugs available that alleviate the symptoms of pregnancy depression: the so-called antidepressants.