People most commonly hear about postpartum depression but antepartum depression is just as common. In fact, 14-23% of pregnant women experience antepartum depression while 5-25% experience postpartum depression.
If you have been following my blog then it’s no secret that my pregnancy has been a challenge mentally and physically. From a surprise pregnancy, a very painful start due to fibroids, severe morning sickness, a car accident, irritable uterus, incompetent cervix, high risk pre term labor, hospitalization from 28-34 weeks with IV Magnesium treatments and other medications and complications, then a very uncomfortable home bed rest until I deliver. My painful consistent contractions have not eased up, in fact they have gotten worse and I can barley get out of bed or roll over without contracting. I have not been able to follow my natural birth plan due to baby boy being breech and my hospitalization. I have been out of work with limited TDI pay from about 26 weeks initially due to calling out of work due to pain, then 28 weeks officially out of work.
This pregnancy is not about me though, it is about baby and keeping him growing, healthy, and safe.
I am 100% excited about this baby boy and so looking forward to meeting him. With all I have been through, it will be worth it when I get to see his face and care for him.
Unfortunately, after birth, unless I am able to get my fibroids removed during my Cesarean (which is a small chance) I will be going back into surgery 3 months later for fibroid removal. This will make for another 6 weeks of recovery and being out of work, with a newborn.
It’s probably not a surprise that I was struggling with depression when I was hospitalized. I have felt like a burden to my family and friends that have had to make a long drive to see me and especially my boyfriend who has had to wait on me hand and foot since before Christmas. He has been a saint. He has been so loving and supportive and I couldn’t have stayed sane throughout this pregnancy without him by my side.
My boyfriends poor family has tried to plan two showers for me with an end result of cancelling them both and I feel horrible. I know they put a ton of time and effort into both showers all for me to be unable to attend due to my hospital bed rest, home bed rest, overall discomfort, and pain.
I thought when I got discharged from the hospital that my depression would disappear. It definitely has gotten better overall and it was just random episodes here and there until this last week. Between my increased pain, baby shower yet again having to be cancelled, and my overall feeling of worthlessness and being a burden on everyone around me it has spiked. I’m sure it’s 100% related to pregnancy hormones spiking as well. I think that because this pregnancy was mentally and physically challenging from day one that it is all catching up with me. Baby will be here in 2 weeks or less and I just need to stay strong for him. I am so excited to get to my scheduled Cesarean and for my boyfriend and I to meet him for the first time.
Overall, this has not been an easy, normal pregnancy and I am so jealous of friends and family that have had an easy pregnancy. I hope my next one goes smoother.
Depression is a mood disorder and all too often, depression is not diagnosed properly during pregnancy because people think it is just another type of hormonal imbalance. This assumption can be dangerous for the mother and the unborn baby. Depression in pregnancy is an illness that can be treated and managed; however, it is important to seek out help and support first. Depression during pregnancy, or antepartum depression, is a mood disorder just like clinical depression. Mood disorders are biological illnesses that involve changes in brain chemistry. **
Antepartum depression is generally thought to be caused by a combination of hormonal changes and psychological disturbances associated with pregnancy. Other changes during pregnancy, such as bodily changes and alterations in sleep and eating habits, can contribute to the development of antepartum depression. *
During pregnancy, hormone changes can affect the chemicals in your brain, which are directly related to depression and anxiety. These can be exacerbated by difficult life situations, which can result in depression during pregnancy.
Here are some risk factors for Antepartum depression include:
• Maternal anxiety
• Life stress
• Lack of social support
• Unintended pregnancy
• Infertility treatments
• Domestic violence
• Lower income
• High risk pregnancies and pregnancy complications
• Thyroid conditions
• Single status
• Poor relationship quality
Women with antepartum depression usually experience some of the following symptoms for 2 weeks or more:
-Sad, restless or depressed mood; crying a lot
-Sleeping too little or too much
-Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
-Recurring thoughts of death, suicide, or hopelessness
-Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
-Withdrawal from friends and family
-Weight loss or excessive weight gain
-Wanting to eat all the time, or no appetite at all
-Fatigue or loss of energy
-Having trouble thinking, concentrating or making decisions
-Having headaches, stomach problems or other pains that don’t go away
-Missing prenatal visits or not following medical instructions
-Using harmful substances like tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs
Some women don’t seek treatment for their pregnancy depression out of embarrassment, shame, guilt or simply because they think their depression symptoms are just “normal” pregnancy symptoms that will “go away” on their own. But studies show that untreated or undertreated depression can lead to preterm delivery, low birth weight, possibly gestational diabetes and, in severe cases, developmental delays in baby. What’s more, depression may not end when your pregnancy does. Being depressed when you’re pregnant also puts you at a higher risk of postpartum depression. So if you think there’s any chance you’re suffering from pregnancy depression, ask for help — for yourself, but also because your baby needs a mother who’s healthy in both body and mind. ***