Pregnancy is normally seen as a period of happiness and excitement, knowing that another family member will soon arrive! Unfortunately for some women, pregnancy can bring many negative emotions, such as fear, sadness, confusion, anxiety and depression.
The American Congress of Obstetricians reported that up to 23% of pregnant women will go through frequent bouts of depression.
Diagnosing the Symptoms of Depression.
Diagnosing depression while a woman is pregnant can be difficult. This is because the signs of depression may mirror several symptoms of a “normal” pregnancy, such as loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, inability to concentrate, changes in energy levels and emotional instability.
Plus, many people, including medical professionals, can mistakenly think it’s just the signs of the expected hormonal imbalance. However, if feelings of sadness and hopelessness persist for more than a week, and become extreme, then professional help should be sought.
If you notice the woman generally uninterested in life and showing negative emotions constantly, this is a warning sign that they need help. Thoughts of suicide, guilt, and no longer enjoying the things they used to, are also signs to watch out for.
Non-Drug Approaches for Treating Depression. Depression is treatable and there are non-drug approaches to try first. Light therapy, psychotherapy and other complementary and alternative approaches have been proven effective in treating pregnant women suffering from depression.
Exercise is another proven recipe in treating the symptoms of depression during pregnancy. Diet can also help (or hinder), so check with your doctor first before you start making radical changes to your diet. You want to ensure that you and your developing baby are getting the best nutrition possible.
What You Should Know about Antidepressants. Many pregnant women with depression have been prescribed antidepressants.
It’s interesting that several clinical trials have been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with some unpublished reports from pharmaceutical companies, which reveal that many antidepressants are only slightly more effective compared to a placebo. In cases of severe depression, only one out of ten people experienced a significant improvement.
The use of antidepressants during pregnancy is also strongly linked to certain health problems. Some antidepressant medications have been known to cause possible heart defects in newborn babies, especially when the mother was taking them during the first trimester of her pregnancy.
Some studies also reveal that a group of antidepressants known as SSRIs, may increase the risk of newborn babies suffering from breathing problems. Separate studies also link SSRIs with low birth weight and premature birth problems.
Many experts strongly prefer the use of treatments that focus on life situations over the use of antidepressants. This is a far more holistic methodology than using synthetic antidepressants, which are limited to, at best, attempting to correct any chemical imbalance in the brain. Besides, most cases of depression are episodic, which gradually subsides after four to six months even without any treatment.