Do You Know That You Can Get Depressed While Pregnant?

Editorial Team

When I was pregnant with my children, it was a very special and precious moment for me, the two pregnancies came with different challenges but I still enjoyed it. My first was very special because I was going to be a first time mum so i was really looking forward to it. My second pregnancy, I knew it was going to be my last so I made sure nothing was going to spoil it for me.

However, I know someone that was always moody and sad through out her pregnancy, I could not understand why she wasn't happy, but the truth is there are women who don't enjoy their pregnancy for various reasons. 

Pregnancy is supposed to be a time of self discovery and just being able to anticipate the future in a new light. While a lot of women enjoy their pregnancy, there are some that don't enjoy theirs for so many reasons.

In Nigeria, depression affects 10 % of women in pregnancy. A mental health expert, Professor Oye Gureje has raised the alarm on cases of depression around pregnancy saying it is a silent contributor to maternal mortality in Nigeria.

Professor Gureje, the Director, World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Research and training in Mental Health, Neurosciences and Substance Abuse, University of Ibadan, stated that findings in the country also indicated that incidence of moderate to severe depression was double in girls below 19 years that get pregnant.

Depression during pregnancy, or antepartum depression, is a mood disorder just like clinical depression. Mood disorders are biological illnesses that involve changes in brain chemistry. During pregnancy, hormone changes can affect the chemicals in your brain, which are directly related to depression and anxiety.  These can be exacerbated by difficult life situations, which can result in depression during pregnancy.

Women with depression usually experience some of the following symptoms like persistent sadness, difficulty concentrating, sleeping too little or too much, loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy, recurring thoughts of death, suicide, or hopelessness, anxiety, feelings of guilt or worthlessness and change in eating habits

Depression in pregnancy is usually caused by several things such as relationship problems, family or personal history of depression, previous pregnancy loss, stress, complications in pregnancy or history of abuse or trauma.

Depression that is not treated can have potential dangerous risks to the mother and baby. Untreated depression can lead to poor nutrition, drinking, smoking, and suicidal behavior, which can then cause premature birth, low birth weight, and developmental problems. A woman who is depressed often does not have the strength or desire to adequately care for herself or her developing baby.

We hear a lot about postpartum depression but we don't hear enough about depression during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and depressed or know someone who is pregnant and feeling depressed, make sure they get help by talking to a specialist for the safety of both mother and child.