Did you know that aside from postpartum depression, there is also a case called prenatal depression? Yes! Psychiatrists at Bristol University assessed 14, 500 pregnant women in the early 1990's whose due dates fall between April 1, 1991 and December 31, 1992. They used a questionnaire called the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to detect signs of depression either during or after pregnancy. They concentrated specifically on emotional and psychological effects of depression. Each of them participated in answering the questionnaire at 18 weeks and 32 weeks and were also given the same questionnaire 8 weeks and 8 months after their babies were born. The result of the study is stated below.
The results showed that there were at least as many women who were depressed at the end of their pregnancy as during the months following the birth. Even more surprising was the psychological condition of some of the expectant mothers improved after the birth. Of the 9028 participants who completed all four questionnaires, the percentage of women suffering from symptoms of depression was as follows at different points during the study:11.8% at 18 weeks
13.5% at 32 weeks
9.1% 8 weeks after the birth
8.1% 8 months after the birth
Only 1.6% of the women (a total of 146) showed signs of depression during all four stages of the study.
With the result above, it disagrees to the common conception that women are at high risk of depression after giving birth. Personally, I would agree to the result of the study. Although each pregnancy is different, more women have prenatal issues to deal with that is similar to having postpartum issues. Behind the scenes of being pregnant, women worry about how they look, how they feel, or how they adapt. A lot of apprehensions certainly happen when one is pregnant. Women are ecstatic on having a baby but not everyone feels 'glowing' when pregnant. Some may feel bloated, undesirable, insecure, confused, anxious, stressed out, or depressed. All these mixed emotions can lead to prenatal depression. If you have been experiencing some of the symptoms found below that last two weeks or longer, you may be suffering from prenatal depression.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Depression:
- Feeling very sad, anxious or cranky
- Frequent crying
- Not feeling up to doing daily tasks
- Not feeling hungry, or eating when not hungry Not wanting to take care of yourself (dress, shower, fix hair)
- Trouble sleeping when tired, or sleeping too much
- Things don’t seem fun or interesting anymore
- Trouble concentrating Feeling hopeless
- Trouble making decisions
- Worrying too much about the baby or not caring about the baby
- Fear of harming or being alone with the baby
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Depression, regardless during or after pregnancy, can happen to any pregnant woman. It does not rely on a woman's age, education, culture or socioeconomic status. If you feel any symptom of prenatal depression, seek help from your healthcare provider. The earlier it is addressed the better it is for you and your baby.