Antenatal DepressionAntenatal depression is horrible when it hits you. Not every pregnant woman suffers from pregnancy depression but it probably happens to many more than the official figures suggest. It’s thought to be caused by hormonal changes during the first trimester and in the majority of cases it eases off before too long without needing treatment.Antenatal depression is a very individual thing and is closely linked with personality type, life history and lifestyle. It’s thought that it is most likely to hit you if you felt low at the start of your pregnancy, or if you have suffered from depression before becoming pregnant. It goes without saying that you’re more likely to experience this type of depression if you are having problems with your partner, if your baby was unexpected, or if you are not sure if you really want to have a baby now.

Anxiety Depression During PregnancyThe Early Signs of Antenatal Depression are:

you feel irritable and anxious, especially about your babyyou feel constantly tiredyou have no energyyou find it difficult to enjoy yourselfit’s difficult to get to sleep because you are feeling anxious, or you wake up in the early hours of the morning feeling stressed or despondent.Mild antenatal depression in pregnancy is often helped by reassurance and support from your partner, family, or friends. Try not to bottle it up or keep it to yourself too much: it’s sometimes like a ray of sunlight if you can share it with a good friend and feel that you’re not the only one who gets these down days.Try treating yourself: a visit to a beauty parlour, getting your nails done, even taking some time off to visit someone you like but hardly ever have time to see…these are all things that can make a big difference to your mood.

 

It’s often hard to make the initial move, as depression frequently brings inertia, but if you recognize this and make a superhuman effort to get out and do something you used to enjoy, the black mood can lift quite fast. Severe antenatal depression in pregnancy, however, is a different ball game and it needs to be taken seriously, as persistent low mood not only affects you but can make your bonding process with your baby more difficult later on.If your depression is very severe and you feel desperate, please don’t keep it to yourself: consult your midwife or doctor as soon as you can. You won’t be wasting their time. There are drugs that are very effective in treating depression and are also safe for you and your baby during pregnancy, although ideally certain of these should be avoided in the first trimester.

Your doctor will know what’s safe to prescribe, though, and even the process of being taken seriously is a relief at dark times.Don’t kid yourself that you’re of no value to anyone. This is what often happens to women who have antenatal depression. They start to say to themselves that their life is worthless, that nobody REALLY loves them, that no-one really cares if they’re around or not…on and on goes the inner voice, chipping away, convincing you that you count for nothing. DON’T LET IT!You need to recognise what is happening and understand that this is not your rational mind that is speaking, it’s the skewed bio-chemistry of your body that is undermining you. This nagging, nasty little voice is not you! You must believe this. You can overcome it by taking our3 Important Steps to Defeat Antenatal or Postnatal Depression:1) Notice what’s happening.

Become aware of the inner voice of depression. Notice it whenever it starts, see how it repeats itself. Notice the words it uses, what it says. 2) Think of the voice as being separate from you. It’s not your voice, it’s just producing thoughts that are generated by a wash of hormones in your body. There is no truth to these thoughts because this voice is unreliable, it can’t be trusted.3) Pick up your phone and call someone. It can be a good friend, it can be the doctor’s office, it could be the Befrienders or your local Citizen’s Advice…or a local organisation you know that maybe has a drop-in for mothers and mothers to be. Googling the name of your town and “depression” usually brings up useful results. The key to getting over your antenatal depression is not to buy in to any negative inner voice that tries to undermine you.

Know that you have the power to defeat it and that one of the strongest tools in your arsenal is contact with others. There WILL be someone you can contact, whether by phone, by email, on a forum or in your local community, who can help you get through this. Your doctor is trained to either help you herself or to pass you on to someone who can. There are millions of us who have felt just as you do and there are millions who know that reaching for the phone was the best thing they ever did.A useful site to look for clear, wise and professional information is Dummies.com…the range of Dummies guides and their free helpsheets covers in detail how to deal with many of the negative thoughts that bring depression, whether you’re pregnant, have the baby blues or are just plain depressed.And when you get better…maybe think about how you could help someone else who gets pregnancy or postnatal depression? The world needs you and your experiences.

And it’s well known that one of the best ways to break out of the vicious circle of depression is to do something for someone else.That person could be younger than you, or someone who looks as if they’re coping OK but underneath they’re not. For instance, teenage pregnancy is thought to carry a slightly higher than average risk of depression, which is why we are developing a special page for teen pregnancy depression, as it is a time when support is badly needed.Post Partum DepressionDepression after pregnancy, i.e. once you’ve had your baby, is commonly known as the ‘baby blues’…which to me seems a phrase that tends to trivialise what can often be quite a tough period to get through.Most cases of post partum depression are the result of the great wash of hormones through your body. They are intended to make your body better able to cope with the physical demands of motherhood, including breastfeeding and baby care, but the biochemistry of the brain gets caught up in this process and this can lead to feelings of anxiety, anger, irrational tears, irritability, hopelessness, not wanting to get out of bed and quite deep depression in some of us.

The advice given above holds good for milder and the more temporary types of postpartum depression too. But many of us find it hard to get the motivation, or the time, to go to the doctor once we have post natal depression. If this is you, then you may want to consider this excellent program called PPD Miracle. It was painstakingly put together by a mother who didn’t want to take drugs or go to a psychiatrist, who was deeply entrenched in post partum depression but who wanted a natural solution that would work in a short space of time. She had tried some of the so-called miraculous online cures, including self-hypnosis and magical drugs, and had found them to be useless…some of them quite dangerous.We have checked out her program and have found that her integrity, personal experience and the value of her holistic, drug-free advice makes The Post Partum Miracle something we can definitely suggest you try.

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