Depression during or after Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be one of the most joyous experiences for a mother and when this is the case it is truly wonderful. For about 10% of pregnant women the emotions experienced during pregnancy can become overwhelming and hard to shift. They are different from the usual emotional changes and can interfere with the pregnant woman’s ability to function in everyday life.
One in six pregnant women experience depression during and after the first year of their pregnancy or Pre \ Post Natal Depression in Ireland every year and these are only the mothers who are diagnosed. Sometimes this depression can be overlooked because it is may be difficult to identify but also it depends on the information the women gives to professionals about how she is feeling.
MUMS’ HEALTH – Dr Margo Wrigley HSE (6th January 2018)
One in six pregnant women is at risk of depression as Ireland currently has just three perinatal mental health consultants working part-time
Last month the HSE launched a new care model for women with mental health issues while they’re expecting and during the first year of the new-born’s life
Some of the Causes
- Changes in oestrogen and progesterone levels can contribute to mood changes early in pregnancy
- Financial worries
- Uncertainty about the timing of being pregnant
- Being worried about the movement and health of the baby or lack thereof
- Feeling uncomfortable with being out of work for a number of months
- Feeling guilty about being unhappy regarding the pregnancy
- Being unhappy about gaining weight or body changes
- A family or personal history of depression or other mental health illnesses, suddenly coming off mental illness medications.
- Lack of support or fear of lack of support after the baby is born
- Relationship difficulties with you partner
- Loss of libido and the worry that your partner will not understand your withdrawal from sexual activity
- Feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the birth
- Overly concerned about the birth experience and how it will work
- Stressful situations like a sick family member or friend or their death, moving house, job loss, divorce
- Feeling tearful without knowing the cause, finding it impossible to cheer up even when there is no reason to feel this way.
- Physical and emotional changes in a woman’s body, e.g. fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and breast tenderness.
- Emotions can be unstable, and feelings of low mood are not uncommon such as anxiety, hopelessness, fear and sadness.
- Many women feel confused about struggling with sadness when they feel they should be happy
- Feeling moody, impatient or irritable, restless, or concentrating difficulties
- Appetite may increase or decrease
- Feeling totally exhausted, or lack of motivation
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Avoiding social contact and isolating oneself
- Feeling suicidal or planning your suicide
Having depression in pregnancy or after pregnancy as you can see from the figures quoted in this article are quite normal. Although no woman wants to experience this it is not an illness to be ashamed of with professional help a woman can be really well once again. It is important to know you are not ALONE