Antepartum Depression


Antepartum depression is depression that occurs during the course of a pregnancy. It is a potentially debilitating mental condition that typically impacts one in four women at some point over the course of their lives. In the past, it was thought that being pregnant would serve as a repellent of sorts to depressive feelings, however, research now indicates that this assumption is inaccurate.

According to recent studies, nearly 20 percent of women undergo some symptoms of depression during the course of their pregnancy. Further, approximately 10 percent of women undergo serious, major depression. As with any other mental disorder, the key to dealing with antepartum depression is noticing the red flags and then taking the necessary steps to seek out treatment.

Over the course of a pregnancy, alterations as they relate to hormones can in turn impact brain chemistry. This may bring about feelings of despair or antepartum depression.

Signs of antepartum depression include, but aren’t limited to:

  • unrelenting sadness
  • strange sleeping habits
  • inability to concentrate
  • loss of interest
  • anxiety
  • feelings of guilt
  • changes in eating habits

Antepartum depression that goes untreated can have serious risks for the baby. This depression can cause mothers to abandon healthy practices which in turn can hurt the baby and/or cause a premature delivery.

Treatment Options

Treatment options are available for pregnant women dealing with depression, just as they would be for depression in any other setting. Things like light therapy, support groups, medication and private psychotherapy are tried and true ways to put an end to antepartum depression. Drugs like Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil have also been deemed as medicines that are safe to use over the course of a pregnancy.


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