Pregnant women or those who are trying to become pregnant are encouraged to think of the positive aspects of pregnancy, like the fact that they will soon have a baby. However, there are the obvious negative aspects, like morning sickness, birth complications and getting bigger. One negative aspect that tends not to be discussed as much is the possibility of postpartum and perinatal depression.
Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after childbirth. However, women can also have depression during pregnancy, according to www.womenshealth.gov. Both types are not uncommon, as both during and after pregnancy, nearly 13 percent of women have depression.
Some women have a short depression, called “baby blues,” according to MedlinePlus. However, postpartum depression can last a lot longer than just the week or so of “baby blues.”
Causes of postpartum depression can be genetic, biological (brain chemistry), stress-related and/or hormonal factors, according to the Web site. There is a special emphasis on the hormonal factors, since there is a major change in hormones during and after pregnancy.
Another important aspect to mention is that a woman who has had depression at some point before pregnancy has a greater chance than other women at having depression during and/or after pregnancy, according to www.marchofdimes.com. This is only logical, especially for women who have a consistent depression, since pregnancy won’t just get rid of depression. If anything, it will make it worse.
If you are depressed and want to be a mother, I would suggest talking to your doctor about treatment methods that won’t harm the baby. Also, it’s important to have a strong support system during regular depression but especially during and after pregnancy. Women with postpartum depression might be so internally focused that they forget about their baby. Make sure you have an attentive husband or family member or friend at your side at all times for emotional and physical support and help.
Perinatal depression describes depression during pregnancy overall and includes postpartum depression.