What Is Antenatal Depression?by Dr Emma Gray - 22nd October, 2018
Antenatal Depression (AND) is a type of Depression that effect 7-20% of women during pregnancy. It is the strongest risk factor for Postnatal Depression (PND) but is talked about far less, despite the fact that research suggests treating it will not only protect against PND and Parenting Stress but also Depression that continues long after the birth of your baby.
Symptoms are often missed because pregnancy is so physically & emotionally challenging, so knowing what to look for will ensure you get the help you need, as soon as you need it. The earlier you can get treatment the more effective it is.
Here is a quiz to help you work out if you are suffering from AND. To a certain extent the symptoms are a part of pregnancy and your mind and body adjusting to this life change. However, when symptoms start to feel like more than you can handle speak to your midwife or healthcare provider who you will help you to get the treatment you need to feel better.
1. Are you having lots of self-critical thoughts?
2. Are you comparing yourself negatively to others?
3. Are you worried that you will not be able to cope with this life changing event?
4. Are you worried that you will not be able to cope with the restrictions that being a mother will place on you?
5. Do you feel stressed or anxious a lot of the time?
6. Do you feel angry, frustrated or irritable a lot of the time?
7. Do you feel sad a lot of the time?
8. Do you feel unmotivated in the face of jobs that need to be done?
9. Have you stopped enjoying things that you used to enjoy?
10. Do you wish you weren’t pregnant?
11. Do you feel guilty about how you are feeling?
12. Are you not telling anyone how you feel?
Treatment for AND is very effective and doesn’t have to involve medication, so you don’t need to suffer. Currently the most effective treatment is a talking therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT. This therapy will help you to identify and change your negative thoughts, bring balance to your mood, reduce anxiety, sadness and irritability and boost your self-esteem and confidence in your ability to manage the challenges of being a mum.