Depression

Approximately 10% of pregnant women experience depression, making this illness the most common complication of pregnancy.  Approximately 15% of women experience significant depression in the year following childbirth. The percentages are even higher for women who are also dealing with poverty, and can be twice as high for teen parents.

Perinatal depression – either during pregnancy or the first year postpartum — is temporary and treatable with professional help.

If you are experiencing feelings of depression or sadness, know that it is not your fault and you are not to blame.  We understand what you are going through and will connect you to people who can help.

Symptoms

Symptoms can start anytime during pregnancy or the first year postpartum. They differ for everyone, and might include:

  • Feelings of anger or irritability
  • Lack of interest in the baby
  • Appetite and sleep disturbance
  • Crying and sadness
  • Feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
  • Possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself

Risk factors

Risk factors for perinatal depression are listed below.  Women with these risk factors should discuss them with a medical provider and plan ahead for care.

  • A personal or family history of depression, anxiety, or postpartum depression
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD or PMS)
  • Inadequate support in caring for the baby
  • Financial stress
  • Marital stress
  • Complications in pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
  • A major recent life event: loss, house move, job loss
  • Mothers of multiples
  • Mothers whose infants are in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)
  • Mothers who’ve gone through infertility treatments
  • Women with a thyroid imbalance
  • Women with any form of diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational)

Content provided by Postpartum Support International.

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