Though pre-natal depression doesn’t get as much attention as its post-natal counterpart, it is quite common for moms-to-be to experience a clinical level of depression at some point in time during their pregnancies.
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Studies suggest that 33 percent of all pregnant women experience depression, reports Kate Rope for “Parents Magazine.” The causes for these depressive episodes range from genetic pre-disposition to depression to hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy.
Often compounding the severity of this depression is the fact that many women feel quite guilty about being depressed during what they are told should be a magical time in their lives. If you find yourself feeling depressed while pregnant, don’t make matters worse by blaming yourself. If you avoid seeking help because you feel ashamed of your upset, you will suffer unnecessarily at best or worsen the symptoms at worst. Instead, explore your options and select the coping strategy that best fits your needs.
Start by sharing your upset with your OBGYN. Be candid and open regarding the feelings you are experiencing. Depending on the severity of the symptoms you describe, your doctor may elect to refer you to a therapist for treatment. If your doctor suggests this form of treatment, do your best to be honest and open, neither your doctor nor the therapist to whom you are referred are there to judge you. If you hold things back, you will only hinder the potential effectiveness of the therapy.
Whether used in isolation or as part of a larger system of treatment, building a support system can prove a profoundly useful way to overcome your depression. Speak to your partner about your depression and ask for help as you move through it so you don’t have to go it alone. If you’re moving through your pregnancy sans-partner, or you suspect that this individual won’t be an ideal support, share your thoughts and feelings with a family member or close friend. Ask the person or people you select to confide in to be there for you and, if they agree to it, reach out to them when you feel depressed. Having a collection of encouraging ears can make it much easier to ride the waves of depression.
Like many other maladies, pre-natal depression can be lessened with acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient form of medicine that originates from China and involves the strategic placement of needles in various points around the body. This form of medicine is particularly popular in treating issues during pregnancy, as it is largely non-invasive and doesn’t involve the introduction of chemicals into the body. If you choose to use this method of treating pre-natal depression, seek a trained and licensed acupuncturist to ensure that you get the most out of your treatment.
Particularly if you find yourself pregnant during the already-dreary winter months, light therapy may be an ideal treatment option. Therapy of this type involves, as the name suggests, exposure to light. Patients treated with this method are prescribed periods of light exposure in an attempt to improve their mood and reduce symptoms of depression. Like acupuncture, this form of treatment doesn’t involve the use of chemicals, so it poses few risks to mothers-to-be.
The food you consume during pregnancy is incalculably important, both to the health of your baby and to the maintenance of your mood. If you’ve allowed pregnancy cravings to lead you into a pattern of unhealthy eating, this could be playing a part in your depression. Work to add healthy whole grains and omega-3s to your diet, as both of these elements promote hormonal balance and can reduce the severity of symptoms of depression. For a comprehensive and tailored diet plan, visit a dietitian and seek this expert’s advice.
If your depression is minor and periodic, something as simple as picking up a new hobby could help alleviate your blues. Instead of sitting around like a bird on a nest waiting for your hatchling to arrive, get out and do something new. Take a class, join a club or pick up a new hobby. These efforts toward self-improvement won’t just give you something to do they will also make the time pre-baby pass more quickly and make you feel better about your talents and skills.