Depression During Pregnancy: What Is It?

6 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

depression during pregnacy

Mood swings at the time pregnancy is a common thing. Because of the fluctuation of hormones in your body, your emotions will also undergo drastic change frequently. You will start feeling sad, worthless, and hopeless at times. It happens because of the extra stress on your reproductive system.

However, if you are feeling anxious all the time during your pregnancy, then it could be a sign of depression. Facing depression at the time of pregnancy is a thing of concern, and it can also be tackled. Some pregnant women get over this problem of depression quite early, and some might struggle to recover even after the delivery. So, consulting with the doctor will be a wise option. Here is everything you need to know about depression during pregnancy and how you can tackle it.

In This Article

Does Depression Affect Your Pregnancy and the Baby?

If you have depression at the time of your pregnancy, then certain problems might arise. Here are some of the problems that you might face due to depression during pregnancy:

  • A high risk of having a miscarriage
  • Premature delivery
  • Problems with fetal development
  • The low weight of the baby during birth

Postpartum depression might increase the following risks for the mother and baby:

  • Increased sense of separation
  • A high chance of anxiety
  • The problem of interaction between the mother and baby
  • Issues with developing new skills for a baby

[Read : Miscarriages : 15 Common Reasons]

Symptoms of Depression During Pregnancy

Symptoms of Depression During Pregnancy

Most people misjudge the symptoms of depression with subtle mood swings. So, gauging the signs and symptoms of depression during pregnancy is tough because each symptom is interlinked with something else. Let’s take the example of sleep disturbances, which happens during pregnancy quite often, and it is also a sign of depression. However, there are some symptoms which will indicate depression if they last for more than a week. Some of those symptoms are:

  • Feeling hopeless, worthless, irritated, anxious, and empty all the time
  • Crying because of no apparent reason
  • Lack of energy in the body
  • Severe to mild headaches all the time
  • Overeating or less eating
  • Lack of sleep or oversleeping
  • Problems with memory
  • Loss of interest in activities which one enjoys
  • Lack of communication among family and friends

[Read : Insomnia During Pregnancy]

Causes of Depression During Pregnancy

Some of the common causes of depression during pregnancy are:

1. Family History of Depression

If someone in your family had a depression problem in the past, then you can get it too.

2. Past Cases of Depression

If you had depression in the past due to miscarriage or various other reasons, then it can come back during your pregnancy as well.

3. Isolation From the Close Ones

You are staying away from your family or partner then that can also cause a sense of depression.

4. A Bad Incident in Life

During your pregnancy, if you recall any terrible incident that happened in the past, then you might start having depression.

5. Unexpected Pregnancy

If your pregnancy was not planned, then it could cause depression.

6. Family Problems

Certain problems in your family at the time of pregnancy could lead to depression.

7. Fertility Treatment

During fertility treatments, you experience a considerable shift in the hormonal levels of your body, which could lead to depression as well.

What to do If You are Diagnosed With Depression During Pregnancy?

Consult with your doctor if you have depression. If you are not comfortable in stating your condition, you can write it to your doctor as well. Also, you can talk to other women who are going through the same problems by joining a support group. Your doctor will talk to you regarding any treatment method that you might need.

How is Depression Treated During Pregnancy?

pregnant women taking Psychotherapy

There different ways of dealing with depression during pregnancy. Here are some of the more common things your doctor may advise according to your symptoms:

  • Psychotherapy where you will have to share your feeling with a counselor
  • Interacting with other people suffering from depression by joining online communities and support groups
  • The doctor might prescribe antidepressant medications to relieve depression
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT where the doctors use infiltrates the brain by passing an electric current

Most doctors will recommend psychotherapy over any other therapy because of the possible side effects of other treatments.

How Safe are Antidepressants During Pregnancy?

Those who used to take antidepressants regularly but stopped because of pregnancy could find their depression returning. Therefore, you should be consulting about it with your doctor who might prescribe the following antidepressants:

  • Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs
  • Tricyclic and Tetracyclic Antidepressants
  • Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors or SNRIs
  • Bupropion

Some of these antidepressants could be safe to use, but some of them might result in low weight for the babies during birth or miscarriage and other side effects.

[Read: Is It Safe To Take Antidepressants During Pregnancy?]

Natural Remedies For Treating Depression During Pregnancy

pregnant women getting Acupuncture

Here are some of the natural remedies that you can also use to tackle depression without using antidepressants:

  • Get enough sleep and rest as it will ensure a healthy pregnancy
  • Consume nutritious foods which will also improve your mental state
  • Exercise regularly as exercise will help to reduce cortisol and improve the condition of depression
  • Include foods in your diet which are high in omega-3 as it will reduce depression symptoms
  • Acupuncture has also proven to be an effective way of treating depression

Can You Take Herbal Remedies For Depression?

One common herbal remedy that you might come across while dealing with depression is St. John’s Wort. However, the lack of research made on it taking it during pregnancy is one reason why you might want to avoid it as the results are unknown. You should be taking the help of your doctor before taking any steps about this.

What are the Complications of Untreated Depression During Pregnancy?

Untreated Depression During Pregnancy

  • Pregnant women will face the risk of miscarriage, preeclampsia, suicidal tendencies, and much more. They might also get indulged in bad habits like alcohol, smoking, and drug usage.
  • Babies might face the problem of low weight at the time of birth, premature birth, and developmental problems.
  • Children might struggle to establish social contacts, suffer from emotional and behavioral difficulties, and also might struggle to learn things easily.

Pregnancy is a stage where the hormones in your body fluctuate, and because of that, the emotions also start to fluctuate a lot leading to mood swings. If your mood swings are persistent, then you might want to bring that to the notice of your doctor. Remember, being vigilant about your body and mind is one of the best ways to have a safe pregnancy.

Read Also: Over Anxiety During Pregnancy: Are You Worrying Too Much?


1. Does Feeling Sad Affect Baby?

When you are happy and tranquil, your unborn baby can grow up in an environment that is as joyful and calm. But emotions like stress and worry can make your body produce more hormones, which can impact how your baby’s body and brain grow.

2. Can Baby Feel When Mom Is Stressed?

Not only are infants able to sense and respond to the emotional state of their mothers, but they also experience similar physiological shifts.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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