Pregnancy depression in the spotlight

One woman uses her experience of prenatal depression to reassure pregnant women there is help available

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Prenatal (antenatal) depression is thought to affect up to one in 10 mums-to-be, yet the condition is often only mentioned as an aside to the more common experience of postnatal depression (PND).

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Jessica McCallin has written about her experience of developing depression during her pregnancy in the Guardian, advising women to seek help. She also explains the different treatments available for the condition.

“Milder episodes respond well to talking therapies and to better diet and exercise,” Jessica wrote. “More severe attacks, however, may require medication.”

Jessica explained, “Stress in pregnancy has been linked to low birth weight and premature delivery, so if a pregnant woman is very depressed, medication may be the safer option for mother and baby.”

Jessica added that mums-to-be can often feel guilty for being depressed, which can worsen the cycle. She quotes Beth Murphy, from the mental healthy charity Mind, who explained, “There is a widespread assumption that pregnant women should be happy so they may be reluctant to talk about their feelings or seek help which, of course, can make the problem worse.”

For Jessica, things eased in her second trimester. And she didn’t suffer PND. “Since my daughter’s birth nearly a year ago, there hasn’t been a whiff of depression. It’s been quite the opposite – I’ve never felt so happy and at peace,” Jessica shared.

If you’re worried about your emotions, you’re not alone. Have a chat to your midwife or GP who can recommend treatment and ways to cope. You can also head to Mind.

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