Understanding perinatal depression
All expectant parents will have some days where they feel better than others. Pregnancy is a time of significant change and it is normal to feel a range of emotions. Sometimes during pregnancy, low mood can evolve into depression that significantly affects daily life.
Physical changes can make a parent feel vulnerable – hormones, pain and discomfort, or interrupted sleep can be hard to manage. However, partners can be affected too. Depression can happen slowly or occur quite rapidly.
People experiencing mental health issues in pregnancy may have a combination of anxiety and depressive symptoms – often the two are interchangeable and occur together. Seeking help from a professional is important and will aid in early intervention and a plan for recovery.
Depression in pregnancy is a diagnosable medical condition. It is treatable, and it is important to remember that recovery is possible with the right supports in place. It is also important to seek help as early as you can.
If depressive symptoms do not lift after a couple of weeks and affect a person’s daily life, it is time to speak with a G.P, midwife, obstetrician, or a psychologist.
Some common signs of depression:
- Flat mood
- Feeling worthless
- Disturbed sleep and appetite
- Crying often
- Feeling unable to cope
- Lack of interest in life
- Irritability, anger outbursts, restlessness.
- Suicidal thoughts or self-harm
Date of last review: August 2021