Depression During Pregnancy: Coping Strategies for Expecting Mothers
Pregnancy is often considered a joyous time in a woman’s life, full of excitement and anticipation. However, it is common for women to experience significant emotional and physical changes during pregnancy, which can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), between 14-23% of pregnant women experience depressive symptoms. Depression during pregnancy is a serious condition and should not be ignored. This article provides some coping strategies for expecting mothers who are struggling with depression while pregnant.
Know the difference between moodiness and depression
It is important for pregnant women to learn the difference between normal mood swings and clinical depression. Hormonal changes, combined with the stresses of pregnancy, can lead to emotional fluctuations, but if these feelings persist and interfere with daily life, it could be a sign of depression. Symptoms of depression include difficulty enjoying anything, trouble sleeping, feelings of worthlessness, and persistent sadness. If experiencing any of these symptoms, seeking professional help is critical.
Do not use natural remedies if you are suffering from depression while pregnant
Many women turn to natural remedies like St. John’s Wort or other botanicals to alleviate depressive symptoms. However, there is a lack of safety data on these remedies for pregnant women, and they can potentially harm the baby. Instead, solutions like psychotherapy and certain antidepressant medications that have been proven to be safe for consumption during pregnancy are viable alternatives.
Try different therapies
Talk therapy is one of the most common forms of treatment for major depressive disorder. However, if traditional therapy isn’t working, there are other options. Bright light therapy, for example, has been proven to be an effective alternative to more traditional methods. As per WebMD, light box therapy, for 30 minutes a day, can help alleviate the symptoms significantly.
Seek a support group
There are a variety of available support groups besides the therapy option. A prenatal depression group is a popular choice for most women. Hospitals, clinics, junior colleges, and adult learning centers often offer these types of groups. Talking to other women who are going through similar experiences can be comforting and empowering, and can provide a new perspective on how to cope with depression during pregnancy.
Ask your spouse for extra help
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, and should not be feared. If pregnant women need help with daily activities or an extra shoulder to lean on, vocalizing needs and asking for help can take a load off of their shoulders. Open communication with partners or loved ones can not only provide extra support but can also strengthen the relationship.
Take extra care of yourself
Finally, it’s important to prioritize self-care during pregnancy, particularly when managing depression. From eating a healthy diet to practicing yoga and meditation, taking the time to care for oneself is essential. Regular exercise, getting proper sleep, staying hydrated, and engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation can greatly contribute to easing depressive symptoms.
Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be emotionally and physically taxing. Depression during pregnancy is a common but serious condition that can have long-term effects on women and their babies. Seeking professional help, learning to differentiate between moodiness and depression, and prioritizing self-care are all strategies to cope with depression during pregnancy. With help and support, women can feel more equipped to manage their symptoms and focus on embracing the joys of pregnancy.