Your health during and after your pregnancy is important to both you and your baby. Normally when people think health, assume physical, but your mental health is just as important. If you are struggling with anxiety and depression during your pregnancy, this is known as antenatal depression. You’re probably chalking your mood swings and doubts down to pregnancy hormones, but when should you start to be worried about your mental health during pregnancy?
What is antenatal depression?
Mood swings during pregnancy are fairly normal, as your body is adjusting to changing hormones. Not only are your body’s hormones changing, but the emotional, physical and psychological changes that you are going through during pregnancy can also be overwhelming.
Most antenatal care focuses on physical health, meaning depression and anxiety are often overlooked during pregnancy. Postnatal depression is far more commonly addressed than prenatal, and it is important that both are equally acknowledged – your mental health is always important.
Antenatal depression is different from mood swings in the way that it is a persistent feeling of sadness or loss. Many of the symptoms of depression are similar to what can normally be experienced during pregnancy, such as fatigue and changes in sleep patterns. However, when you are struggling to function normally day to day, or your symptoms persist for weeks on end, it may be time to find professional help.
What can I do if I think I have antenatal depression?
If you are worried that your feelings of frustration or sadness are not just normal pregnancy blues, here is what you can do to help yourself. Talking to a professional is always a good first step as they can guide you in a direction that will work best for you and your baby.
You could help yourself feel better by looking after yourself. Eating healthy, exercising and sleeping well are all ways in which you can boost your serotonin levels. Speak to people with similar experiences or open-up to your close friends and family. Building your support network can help you feel less isolated and alone.