How Does Perinatal Depression Affect Motherhood?

A pregnant lady suffering from Perinatal Depression.
Nishant Raj
Written by Nishant Raj

Pregnancy is a life changing event for anyone going through it. It is usually marked with utter joy! However, disorders like Perinatal Depression can ruin the experience.

What is Perinatal Depression?

Perinatal depression is defined as depression during pregnancy. It can also occur around the time of child birth and up to or within a year of childbirth. This disorder often makes mothers neglect their babies.Their infants may then develop negative cognition and suicidal tendencies.

Perinatal depression is used by therapists to mean both antenatal and postnatal depression. Antenatal means before the event of birth and postnatal means after the event of birth. It can lead to various poor outcomes.For example, the children of such mothers may develop problems of their own such as difficult temperament and cognitive and emotional delays.

Furthermore, if the depression continues postpartum, the mother-infant relationship could be severely hampered. According to one study, at least 13% of women face the debilitating effects of major depressive disorder (MDD) while pregnant, while another finds that 11–20% suffer from symptoms of Postpartum Depression.

A pregnant  lady suffering from Perinatal Depression.

What are the symptoms of Perinatal Depression?

While experiencing depression symptoms, the mothers are less likely to take care of their and their children’s health.  Moreover, the growth of the fetus is at risk in such cases. For instance, such children have low fetal and birth weights. Other problems associated with Perinatal Depression are pre‐term deliveries and shorter gestations.

The symptoms of perinatal depression include:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping issues
  • Fatigue
  • Sadness
  • Thoughts of death or even suicide

Various issues can cause perinatal depression, such as

  • relationship issues
  • poor family support
  • unwanted pregnancy
  • uncertainty about having a child
  • financial issues etc.

Treatment

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Psychiatric Association discourage pharmacological treatment of depression in pregnant and lactating women in favor of psychotherapeutic intervention.

Despite the guidelines, antidepressant medication has remained the treatment of choice offered to pregnant and postpartum women. In 2007, 13% of pregnant women in the U.S. and Europe were taking antidepressant medication, and this number has very likely increased since then.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence showing that psychotropic medications are less effective and more toxic than previously believed for the treatment of perinatal depression.

According to APA guidelines, psychological interventions are not only much safer than pharmacological treatments but also extremely effective.

Conclusion

We may thus conclude that Perinatal Depression can ruin the beautiful experience of pregnancy as well as the mother-child relation that follows. If you know any mother or mother-to-be who is battling this disorder, help them by contacting Mind Solace. Click here to book a session and save at least two lives!

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Nishant Raj

Nishant Raj

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