Pregnancy depression is more common than one might realize. Most people might be aware it can happen postpartum or after birth but there's also a condition known as antenatal depression, which could be experienced during pregnancy.
Experts say antenatal depression doesn't get diagnosed often enough compared to postpartum depression. It's high time, however, for the medical community and the families they serve to give this focus.
Researcher Veronica O'Keane has been studying antenatal depression for years and has recommended hospitals should undertake routine screening for pregnant moms for intervention, according to Irish Times. Depression during pregnancy poses great risks because moms can suffer increased physical stress such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting and other conditions that could also directly impact the fetus' development. In some cases, it can trigger premature birth or pregnancy loss.
According to Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA), experts point to pregnancy hormones as a big factor to why moms develop depression during pregnancy. The biological changes can trigger mood disorders, anxiety, crying fits, sleep disorders, lack of focus, lack of energy and interest, and even suicidal thoughts.
Doctors or midwives, however, might not immediately be able to detect that a pregnant mom is going through this condition especially if they don't open up about it. According to O'Keane, this could be because mothers fear to discuss it, knowing that pregnancy should be considered a happy time.
With proper diagnosis, however, moms suffering from depression during pregnancy could receive support and care from trained mental therapists and their families. They could also be prescribed the right anti-depressant or medication that is safe for babies.
O'Keane also stressed that depression won't simply go away. The ebb and tide of emotions can lead to more emotional stress, which could make moms incapable of caring for the baby.
Pregnant moms need all the support they can get from those around them. Learn more about antenatal depression in this video below.
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