A lot is said about the famous postpartum depression , but there is also less known prenatal or prenatal depression, which has affected mothers since before the baby was born. In Brazil, it is estimated that 10% of pregnant women suffer from the disease, according to a study released by the Regional Nursing Council. Prepartum depression must be treated so as not to pose risks to the expectant mother and her baby.
We know that pregnancy is a period of rapid changes in the body and moods of women. In addition to high sensitivity, there is a whole expectation, positive or negative, about the idea of having a child. It is impossible not to think about the future and have concerns at that moment!
There can be many reasons for triggering depression in pregnancy . Some women are predisposed to depression, others are in a situation of lack of family or medical support , disagreements with their partner, loneliness, and, mainly, unwanted pregnancy .
A woman may have several completely different pregnancies, depending on the context in which she lives when the positive test comes. So, if you have developed pre-partum depression, don’t think it’s your fault!
What are the symptoms of depression?
Like other types of depression, including postpartum, prenatal depression features:
- Deep sadness
- Discouragement and lack of energy
- Movements and slow thinking
- Serious mood swings
- Excessive sleep or insomnia
- Lack of appetite
It is important to take into account that some of these isolated symptoms do not mean a bigger picture of depression. It is perfectly understandable that in a pregnancy there are changes in mood, sleep and appetite, because of hormones.
However, when this is associated with guilt and prevents her from feeling happy and able to be a mother, from feeling affection for the child that will be born, even harming her in her routine, medical advice should be considered. For example, the expectant mother may not be excited, in the pre-delivery period, with the layette and the first toys for the baby.
Risks and complications of prenatal depression
The main risks of depression in pregnancy come as a consequence of it: the pregnant woman’s lack of care for her own health. In depression, the woman may not have a balanced diet, developing anemia and other conditions that, in addition to her own health, affect the baby’s development.
The hours of sleep and rest, especially in the beginning, are important for a healthy pregnancy, and may not be fulfilled if the pregnant woman suffers from insomnia or panic attacks and anxiety. Among the complications that result from the symptoms, the developing fetus may suffer from dehydration, underweight, and the child will eventually be born premature.
In addition, there is a subjective factor in the mother-child relationship that affects the child’s neuropsychomotor development, generating relationship and learning problems . In a healthy relationship, the child receives stimuli from the mother from within the belly , such as massages, the sound of a loving voice or songs. Even if the baby does not consciously perceive such stimuli, without it he can carry a feeling of rejection, inadequacy and guilt since birth.
Prepartum depression can be transient, especially if the woman seeks help and treatment early. However, if not treated properly, it can develop into postpartum depression, which today affects about 15% of mothers, since there is the aggravation of the level of estrogen dropping dramatically after pregnancy – which contributes to depressive moods, such as it also happens at TPM .
It is always recommended to avoid using allopathic medicines during pregnancy. But in the case of pre-delivery depression, drug treatment is not disregarded during the consultation, as this can be a serious illness. Antidepressants that do not harm the baby’s health can be prescribed by the specialist doctor.
If symptoms are mild and prenatal depression is onset, psychotherapy sessions with a qualified professional are most recommended . It is the way to reach the root of the problem, which is psychological. In any case, when treatment is necessary, it should always be done with the assistance of a qualified health professional.
IMPORTANT: As a complement, pregnant women can seek relaxation practices, such as Yoga and Meditation, and herbal treatments, such as homeopathy and flowers. A valuable tip is not to be sedentary during pregnancy, as this increases the chances of developing depression. There are great exercises recommended for pregnant women!
The problem is not only of the pregnant woman
Pre and postpartum depression is also a public health issue. Every woman has the right to good treatment during pregnancy, which helps to prevent depression and treat it appropriately when it exists. To improve care for parturient women, the Ministry of Health published about what attitudes a health professional should have in prenatal care , as well as what are the rights of women and newborns.
Attitudes of Health Professionals and Women’s Rights
- Monitoring the woman’s physical and emotional well-being throughout the process
- Respect for the woman’s choice of her companion during labor
- Services with norms of procedures and monitoring of the evolution of childbirth by the partogram, with rooming-in, and encouragement to breastfeed
- The health professional must answer the questions asked
- The professional should guide and offer methods of symptom relief during labor, such as a warm bath, massage, and other relaxation techniques.
- The professional must allow contact , immediately after birth, between mother and child, as well as the beginning of breastfeeding
- The pregnant woman has the right to walk during the first phase of labor, in the dilation period , and to adopt the position of her choice in the expulsion phase;
- The pregnant woman has the right to know the identity of the health professional
- The pregnant woman has the right to be called by name
- The pregnant woman must be informed by the professionals about the medical procedures
- The newborn is entitled to adequate neonatal care
See also: Why am I a Crying Pregnant Woman?
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.