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What you need to know about depression and pregnancy

Pregnancy By Esther Muchene
Prenatal depression can be hard to detect because it disguises itself under pregnancy hormonal shifts (Photo: Shutterstock)

Depression is a serious mental health condition that requires urgent care. 

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It’s hard for people to understand what depression feels like, more so antenatal depression. The pressure is twice as much when you’re pregnant because you have another life depending on you. But depression is an ugly monster that has no mercy at all.

Prenatal depression can be hard to detect because it disguises itself under pregnancy hormonal shifts. You have to be in touch with your inner self and take note of any unusual feelings.

Some of the signs include deep feelings of sadness that lasts for a prolonged period of time, overall unhappiness where nothing seems to lift your spirits including the things that usually make you happy, excessive crying, appetite loss and sleep troubles. The most alarming sign is thoughts of suicide.

Women prone to pregnancy depression are those who’ve experienced depression at one point in their life, those who might have experienced traumatic events during pregnancy or even women undergoing a lot of stress and pressures from life like financial struggles, an abusive partner etc.

If you’re suspecting that you might be depressed, know that you’re not alone. The good news is there are many ways to overcome depression. 

This is what you need to know about it. 

1. Don’t be too embarrassed to seek help

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So many expectant women are shamed into hiding their depression. There are many people who still believe that depression is all in the mind and that you don’t need to do anything about it because its ‘just a passing cloud.’ There’s also the issue of expectations where pregnant women are supposed to be happy as they experience this beautiful season of life. The pressure to keep up with the fake smiles makes it harder for women to talk about depression.

It’s hard to be vulnerable and you might even feel like you’re letting people down. But trust me you’ll be so happy that you sought help.

2. Talk to your doctor about getting medication

There’s medication available that’s totally pregnancy safe. Yes there are sometimes risks involved but they are usually very minimal. Talk to your doctor about the fears you have as far as medication is concerned so that you can comfortably proceed.

3. Join support groups

Sharing your experience with women who have gone through or going through depression while pregnant is important. It’s probably one of the most effective coping mechanisms of prenatal depression out there because of the emotional comfort they provide. In case you search online and can’t find any prenatal depression support groups in your area, be the first one to start a group. It’s encouraging to know that you can give many women like you a voice just by simply having the courage to create a platform.

4. Be around people you love

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It’s not a good idea to isolate yourself when you’re depressed. If you’re not getting the support you need from your partner, consider moving home or in with a friend who’ll support you unconditionally. It’s better to stay where you’re surrounded by people who genuinely care about you. This will help you break out of that dark cloud.

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