Signs and symptoms of Antenatal Depression

Pregnancy is a time of change for women and this can be unsettling for some. While lots of women experience great joy and excitement at being pregnant and all that it promises some women have mixed or negative feelings. You may feel tearful, angry or moody, you may suffer from insomnia, anxiety or a low feeling while some of these symptoms could simply be pregnancy hormones it could also be antenatal depression.  People with antenatal depression often find it hard to accept and talk about as society sees pregnancy to be a time of happiness. However, talking is one of the best things you can do to help yourself feel better and to start on the road to recovery.

It is important that if you are already taking medication that you do not stop your medication suddenly. The risk of a relapse in pregnant women who stop their medication is documented as high as 7 in 10 women. If you are concerned about being medicated during pregnancy please talk to your doctor before coming off the medication.

Some symptoms of antenatal depression

  • no interest in things that you used to enjoy
  • loss of confidence
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • anxiety, feeling nervous, on edge
  • panic attacks
  • irritability
  • lack of energy and motivation
  • feeling guilt & shame about how you feel
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • not caring about your appearance or surroundings at home
  • negative thoughts

If you think that you may be depressed, it is important that you seek help as soon as possible.

Tips on how to help yourself

  • remember you are not superwoman and you do not have to try to be, look after yourself first and foremost so that then you are able to look after your baby when he/she arrives
  • try to make friends with other women who are pregnant or have just had a baby
  • find someone you can talk to. If you don’t have a close friend you can turn to Out of the Blues is here for that exact reason
  • go to antenatal classes, these will help answer some of your questions and hopefully address some of your fears.
  • keep in touch with your doctor if you have had depression before. Any signs of depression in pregnancy or PND can be recognised early
  • accept offers of help from friends and family
  • eat regularly and healthily this will help life your mood and boost your energy
  • do some regular gentle exercise, it is provide that exercise really helps to boost the mood

Common worries for mums to be

  • fear that there will be problems with the pregnancy or the baby
  • concern about how much your life will change and not for the better
  • concerns about whether or not you will be a good parent
  • will you relationship with your partner be the same
  • fear of giving birth
  • lack of support and being alone
  • will I be able to manage

These concerns are totally natural, you are about to embark on one of the biggest things you will ever do. It’s ok to be concerned but if you feel your concerns or worries are leading to anxiety or depression then it’s really important you seek help now.

Having antenatal depression does not necessarily mean you will develop postnatal depression. Many mums do feel well once their baby is born and having help and support as soon as possible makes all the difference.