Pregnancy and Depression

You’ve had a rough first trimester. Just when everyone told you things would get better, you find yourself down in the dumps, extremely tired, and feeling like an emotional train wreck. You wonder if it is the hormones. You worry that right now, when you should be feeling elated and happy, your feelings of depression are a sign that something is wrong with you. And if you are like the hundreds of thousands of women who suffer through pregnancy with depression, you keep your feelings to yourself worried about being shamed by others.

Pregnancy and depression often go hand-in-hand. Around 1 out of 10 women suffer from depression during pregnancy. And recent research shows that the sudden surges and changes in hormones that occur throughout pregnancy, can and do in fact alter brain chemistry, which can bring on full bouts of depression.

Women who have had fertility issues or who endure fertility treatments are 10 times more likely to have depression during pregnancy. For women who have suffered with mental illness, anxiety or depression prior to pregnancy, the risk of depression darkening pregnancy is higher. Troubled relationships, family history of depression or mental illness, history of miscarriage and a high-risk pregnancy can also lead to depression during pregnancy.

One of the problems is that most people write off their mood swings or emotional instability to hormones or cliché moodiness in pregnancy, when the reality is that they are suffering from real depression. If you have depression, you might experience some of the following symptoms. Experts say if you’ve experienced three or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks, you should talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should see a therapist:

  • A sense that nothing feels enjoyable or fun anymore
  • Feeling blue, sad, or “empty” for most of the day, every day
  • It’s harder to concentrate
  • Extreme irritability or agitation or excessive crying
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping all the time
  • Extreme or never-ending fatigue
  • A desire to eat all the time or not wanting to eat at all
  • Inappropriate guilt or feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

Finally, mood swings with cycles of depression alternating with periods of an abnormally high spirits — including increased activity, little need to sleep or eat, racing thoughts, inappropriate social behavior, or poor judgment — are signs of a serious condition called bipolar disorder, which requires immediate attention.

While anxiety is normal during pregnancy, if your anxiety becomes too much to bear – or interferes with your ability to do routine things in your life, you should contact a healthcare provider as well.

The most important thing to realize is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There is no reason to live in shame, or to hide your feelings from others just because you are pregnant. If you talk to your healthcare provider, and your loved ones you will find that you can gain some resolution and hopefully, some peace. The good news is that pregnancy induced depression, when treated, most often dissipates within the first 12 months of having your baby.

Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @Momspirational

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Surviving Bedrest During Pregnancy

Pregnancy, especially once you hit the third trimester, can FEEL long. It may seem like your due date is never going to arrive. If you are put on bed-rest during pregnancy due to risk of pre-term labor, the days and weeks can feel like they are slowly ticking by, with you witnessing the passing of every single minute.

The first thing to realize when you are ordered bed rest is that it has been prescribed for a reason. Lying down, resting, and keeping your feet up when you feel like you have so much to do can become maddening. For many women, the time spent on bed rest takes away from their maternity leave after birth, which causes worry or concern. You may lose out on some income. However, following doctors orders is definitely in your and your baby’s best interest. Experts estimate around 20% of all pregnant women will be prescribed bed rest during the third trimester of pregnancy, so you are definitely not alone! The following tips can help you pass the time and keep your sanity (This, from a mama who has been there done that!)

1. First and foremost – get over all the reasons that you don’t want to be on bed rest. Sure, the nursery is not painted, you haven’t shopped for baby clothes, and you really wanted to take a vacation before the baby arrived! Let all that GO! There will be plenty of time to get things done once the baby is born, and you might be surprised at how many people will step in to help you now. The real issue here is your well-being and your baby’s health, and this is just your first challenge and sacrifice that you will face in the long list of challenges that face mothers. Relax. Accept the bed rest.

2. Make sure you have plenty to do. If you bed rest is strict, and means that you cannot get up except to use the bathroom – then set up your living room to accommodate you. Bring in a small fridge, have the TV remote nearby, make sure that you have your laptop and your phone handy. Maybe start playing a video game, or get several books from the library so you can catch up on your reading. All those movies that you have wanted to see but never had the time to?  This is a perfect time to catch up. Another idea, start keeping a journal, or writing letters to your unborn child. While bed rest may be boring, you will NEVER have this much downtime again once the baby arrives. Indulge in your personal interests and passions, take up a new hobby, and keep plenty of things close at hand to keep you busy.

3. Do your baby announcements. You can start addressing all the envelopes, making sure that you have the email and street addresses of the important people in your life and get busy taking care of business. Then, once the baby is born – all you will need to do is fill in the name and birth details of your baby. This is also a good time to write ‘thank you’ notes, get in touch with relatives you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while, and catch up on the day-to-day communications that so easily gets lost in the shuffle. Chances are Grandma Jane will LOVE to hear from you – even better if it’s a handwritten note now that you have some extra time.

4. Call on your friends. Having visitors of family and friends will help pass the time and keep you in good spirits. Have your friends over, and don’t feel bad if they try to help take care of you.

5. Use social media to find other moms in your area on bed rest. Or ask your doctor for a name of another pregnant woman in the practice who is on bed rest. You might be surprised at the new friendship you can make with another woman going through the same thing as you. Find a chat list or forum especially for moms on bed rest so you can connect with others in the same boat as you.

6. Get help with older children. If you already have children who need to be cared for – ask your friends, church members or your social circle for help! There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it, and chances are you would do it for someone else if the need arose.

7. Last but certainly not least – realize this is only temporary! It won’t be like this forever. Soon, all this resting and lying down will pay off when you deliver a healthy and beautiful baby. While it may feel awful when you are going through it, you will look back and know that you did everything to ensure your baby’s health.

If you are on bed rest, what are you doing to survive? If you were on bed rest for a previous pregnancy, what advice do you have?

Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @Momspirational

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.