Two tips for women who develop antenatal depression during their pregnancies

Posted on: 30 March 2020

If you develop antenatal depression whilst pregnant, you might find it helpful to take a look at the tips below.

Talk to your obstetrician about this problem

It is very important to notify your obstetrician of any symptoms that you suspect are being caused by antenatal depression (such as apathy towards things that usually make you happy, eating far larger or smaller amounts of food than your body needs, bouts of crying, low energy, etc.).

If you suffer in silence, instead of getting a diagnosis and asking the obstetrician for help, the depression might get worse as your pregnancy progresses. This deterioration in your mental health could cause you to act in ways that might endanger you or the baby. You might, for example, eat so little that your baby doesn't end up getting the calories and nutrients they need, which may affect their development.

Additionally, you might start to engage in risky behaviours (such as consuming alcohol, driving recklessly or using implements to self-harm). The shame that you might feel after doing these things could then lead you to skip the routine appointments with the obstetrician (in case he or she notices the injuries you have sustained as a result of these behaviours). This may then result in any health issues you get (like high blood pressure) going unchecked and causing problems when you eventually go into labour.

You can prevent this awful domino effect from occurring by being upfront with your obstetrician about your antenatal depression as soon as you notice the symptoms. Your willingness to be open about this issue will then enable your obstetrician to give you the help needed to stop this issue from spiralling.

Commit to trying the suggestions that the obstetrician offers

If you find the courage to speak to the obstetrician about this matter, they will probably make a number of suggestions regarding how you can manage your antenatal depression. This might include going on antidepressants (ones which are safe to take whilst pregnant), seeing a psychologist, and sticking to a regimented daily routine (as allowing yourself to wallow in bed and not washing or eating could make things worse).

The apathy and sadness that the depression is causing you to feel might make you reluctant to give these things a try. However, even if this is the case, you must commit to following your obstetrician's suggestions as if they were orders, as the consequences of not even trying could be terrible. Leaning on your support network and asking them to help you (for example, asking your partner to book the first session with the psychologist for you) should make it easier to adhere to your obstetrician's advice.

To learn more, contact an obstetrician.