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It is common to hear about new mothers suffering from depression after giving birth. But prepartum depression, often known as prenatal depression, is a serious condition that also exists but can sometimes be overlooked.
Prepartum depression affects up to one in five pregnant women. Experts believe that because many depression symptoms such as fatigue, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, and weight gain can overlap with normal symptoms of pregnancy, prepartum depression often goes unrecognized.
But detecting prepartum depression is important not only for the well being of the mother but for the baby’s as well.
While some of these depression symptoms can also common pregnancy symptoms, if any of these symptoms are persistent for more than two weeks, seeking a medical evaluation is advised.
-Feelings of guilt, anxiety, or worthlessness
-Fatigue or loss of energy
-Changes to eating habits
-Weight gain or weight loss
-Lack of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
-Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
If you question or believe what you feel is more than just the regular “pregnancy blues” or pregnancy related stress, it is crucial to take a step in seeking help for the well-being of both you and your baby.
If left untreated, babies born to depressed mothers have a higher risk for birth complications and premature birth, lower birth weights, cognitive and language delays and other behavioral problems.
“We now know that the hormones and brain chemistry involved in depression are known to be affected by changes in other hormones related to pregnancy,” says Dr. Sheila Marcus, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. “And we know this may affect the fetus.”
Source: All Parenting
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