Depression in Pregnancy and Postpartum
Mood changes during and after pregnancy:
Depression can be bewildering for women when it occurs during pregnancy and postpartum. Particularly if the pregnancy is a desired one, women can't figure out "why they feel so bad" during a time in which they expected to feel so good. At other times, the stress of an unexpected pregnancy or risks associated with a high-risk pregnancy can contribute to depression.
During pregnancy up to 10% of women will experience depression. In general, however pregnancy does not cause symptoms to be more severe, and many women who have pregnancy related depression have had previous episodes.
About 12-15% of women develop postpartum depression. The postpartum period is a time of extreme vulnerability to depression. It usually occurs within a month of the birth and may occur as early as 24 hours following a birth.
The Symptoms of Depression During Pregnancy
The symptoms of depression in pregnancy are the same as any other point in a woman's life. Often the symptoms of depression are ignored or misdiagnosed because many of the symptoms of pregnancy such as fatigue, weight change and other bodily symptoms mimic those of depression. Many women suffer needlessly because they do not ask for help.
When depression is severe women may not eat properly, get adequate rest or receive prenatal care. These factors may contribute to babies who are premature or smaller than usual.
The source of this article is med.umich.edu
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