Perinatal depression is a type of clinical depression that can occur during pregnancy or in the year following the birth of a child.
It affects approximately 15% of pregnant women and new mothers.
Symptoms of perinatal depression include:
- feeling sad, hopeless, or overwhelmed most of the time
- losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy
- having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- experiencing changes in appetite or weight
- feeling anxious, irritable, or on edge
- having difficulty concentrating
- feeling worthless or guilty
- withdrawing from friends and family
- thoughts of death or suicide
Pregnant women who are experiencing this type of depression often feel ashamed. Expecting a child is ‘supposed’ to be a joyful experience, so they worry that their emotions are unnatural. Additionally, many women do not want to take medication during pregnancy, so they don’t seek help.
How can I prevent getting it?
There are several things that you can do to prevent perinatal depression.
First, it is important to have a support system in place. This could be your partner, friends, family, or a support group for pregnant women or new mothers.
Secondly, make sure to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. This means eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.
Finally, be honest with your doctor about how you’re feeling and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I think I might have perinatal depression. What should I do?
First and foremost, reach out to your doctor or a mental health professional.
Additionally, there are many support groups available both in person and online.
Finally, remember that you are not alone in this – millions of women experience perinatal depression each year.
There are also several things you can do to help manage the symptoms of depression. These include:
- getting regular exercise
- eating a healthy diet
- getting enough sleep
- avoiding alcohol and drugs
- talking to a therapist or counsellor
If you are struggling with perinatal depression, please take steps to manage your symptoms and make sure you are taking care of yourself.
More about Postnatal / Postpartum and Perinatal Depression
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