Pregnancy blues and antenatal depression
If you’re feeling down, look after yourself
With no control over your raging hormones and everyone asking after your bump, pregnancy can really seem to take over your life. Little niggles can make you feel tired and emotional too – who wouldn't find months of non-stop heartburn or getting up in the night for the loo exhausting?
Many mums-to-be often feel guilty about feeling depressed during pregnancy because they think they should be glowing happily and telling everyone how excited they are. However, if you are feeling a bit blue, you’re not alone. Mood swings during pregnancy are common and can happen to even the smiliest of people.
Try not to let your mood swings get you in their grip and rule you. Instead, whenever you feel down, do something that makes you feel good. Whether it’s getting your hair cut, going to the cinema or just relaxing in a warm bath, treat yourself to something that will help make you feel like you again.
Don’t keep it to yourself
Every pregnancy comes with its share of stress and enxiety. After all, there's a lot to think about: how will the new baby affect your relationship, your social life or even your health? Chatting these worries through with your partner, family and friends can really help you to cope with your mood swings and letting others in means that they’ll be more aware of your feelings, too.
If you really can’t seem to shake off the mood you’re in, it might be that you’ve got a more serious case of the pregnancy blues, which is commonly known as antenatal depression. Around one in ten women experience depression in pregnancy, so you're not alone – even though it might feel like it sometimes.
The symptoms can vary from mild to very strong, and typically involve feeling down most of the time, and finding it hard to concentrate or make decisions. Often there's a growing and unusually strong sense of worry about giving birth and being a good parent. Depression in pregnancy can also make you feel very anxious, tearful, irritable, worthless and guilty, with little energy or motivation.
Fear of asking for help can be another symptom. So if things are getting on top of you and you don't feel any brighter after two weeks, it’s a good idea to talk to your midwife or doctor. Your doctor may suggest counselling, listening to a guided meditation CD or cognitive behavioural therapy, which helps change unhelpful thinking patterns or behaviour. In some cases antidepressants may be prescribed. The important thing to remember is that there are people who can help you through it and you’re not alone.