What is depression during pregnancy? Causes & Symptoms

Postpartum & Mental Health

Pregnancy and childbirth are major events in one’s life. You may have imagined having a child in the future. When you find out that you are pregnant, it’s a happy time for you and your partner, and you receive congratulations from your family, relatives, and friends.

However, on the other hand, it is also true that it is easy to fall into depression during pregnancy and after childbirth. In this article, we will introduce the causes of why depression tends to occur during these happy times, and provide information on symptoms and causes.

What is depression associated with pregnancy?

Depression is often thought of as a “mental illness,” but in recent years, it is considered to be a brain dysfunction. Depression is a state of brain dysfunction caused by a variety of reasons such as mental and physical stress, which can lead to a negative outlook on things and a sense of self-hatred.

In some cases, depression develops during pregnancy due to various stresses, and this is called “pregnancy depression”. It is said that women are twice as likely to develop depression as men, and many women develop pregnancy depression due to the stress of pregnancy.

Similar to pregnancy depression, there is also “postpartum depression,” which develops into depression after childbirth due to various stresses. Postpartum depression is often thought to be a mental illness, but it is also considered to be a brain dysfunction. Understanding the detailed causes and how to deal with them will lead to a solution.

The difference between maternity blue and pregnancy depression

When pregnant women feel down or depressed, some people may wonder, “Isn’t she suffering from maternity blues?” The word “maternity” means “mother, motherhood, pregnancy,” but “maternity blue” refers to “emotional instability soon after delivery.” Therefore, it is different from pregnancy depression, which is similar to postpartum depression.

However, an even bigger difference is that maternity blue is “transient”. Maternity blue is reported to occur in one out of every two women, but it is said to return to its natural state within 10 to 2 weeks and is a transient condition. Pregnancy depression and postpartum depression, on the other hand, last longer and may require treatment in some cases.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy depression?

Symptoms of pregnancy depression are listed below. If some of them apply to you, you may have pregnancy depression.

  • I get irritable easily.
  • Feeling depressed and tearful.
  • Don’t have an appetite.
  • I don’t feel happy no matter what I do.
  • Feeling dull
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling that interacting with others is troublesome.
  • Lack of energy, making mistakes, or putting things off more often

These symptoms are not limited to just pregnancy but can be symptoms of depression. When these symptoms appear during pregnancy, you may take a bad view of yourself and your situation, feel “I don’t feel confident about raising my child in the future” or “Why am I the only one going through this?”

As these feelings accumulate, the depression becomes worse, and a vicious cycle is created in which the person is unable to get enough sleep, loses appetite, and loses energy and vitality.

What are the causes of pregnancy depression?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, depression is not considered a mental illness but a brain dysfunction caused by a combination of various stresses. Let’s take a look at some of the stresses that can occur during pregnancy.

Physical stress

  • Have bad morning sickness
  • Dullness and loss of appetite
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depressed mood
  • Change in body shape

Mental stress

  • Differences from pre-pregnancy life
  • Lack of cooperation from partner
  • Will the baby be born healthy?
  • Will I be able to raise the baby properly after birth?
  • Will I be able to do well as a mother?

These are just a few examples of the stresses that can occur during pregnancy, and they vary from person to person. Physical stress is more likely to occur in the early stages of pregnancy and lessens after this period.

Conclusion

When you get pregnant, you may not be fully confident to become a mother and you may get stressed which leads to pregnancy depression. See the checklist and if you have many checks on that, you need to ask someone to help you or go to the clinic where you can talk about it.

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