Pregnancy and childbirth are supposed to, for the most part, bring happiness into a woman’s life. But many women will experience mood disorders because of pregnancy-related brain chemical depletion. The most common disorder associated with pregnancy is postpartum depression. According to the research, between 12%-15% of pregnant women suffer from depression during or after pregnancy. Many factors can raise your risks of developing postpartum such as:
The above factors may increase your chances of developing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Even if everything is situationally fine, you can still become depressed during or after pregnancy. At the start of pregnancy, your brain chemistry shifts, destabilizing certain neurotransmitters. After birth, the most common time to develop postpartum, those chemicals are depleted.
Clinical depression is an overarching category for a type of mood disorder. Depression causes:
Depression is a severe medical condition many women can experience during and after pregnancy. Let’s explore treatment options for soon-to-be and new mothers.
Treatments for postpartum depression are a serious matter. It can be difficult to treat depression when there’s a fetus involved. It is particularly difficult if a woman takes psychiatric medications and is already prone to depression during pregnancy. If during pregnancy, she discontinues her antidepressant medication, she may struggle with extreme depression. However, many of these medications are known for harming pregnancies.
A woman who is suffering from pregnancy-related depression should educate herself on postpartum and reach out for support. It is recommended to seek out professional counseling during the postpartum period. When we say the postpartum period, we mean six weeks after childbirth. There are many biological, hormonal, and psychological changes that happen after giving childbirth.
There are commonly recommended types of therapies to treat depression during or after pregnancy:
These treatments involve taking a medicine or drug. This is considered the secondary treatment option for postpartum. Medication treatment may help, but make sure that your physician prescribes it and is monitoring you.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are an antidepressant drug. They were long used during pregnancy in Denmark. Now, they are used worldwide to cure depression during pregnancy. The primary goal of SSRIs is to increase levels of “serotonin” (a neurotransmitter in our brain). Low serotonin is thought to be a trigger for depressive symptoms in some. SSRIs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat depression.
However, be cautious, many adverse effects have been documented when giving birth, including:
Apgar scores refer to the physical condition of a newborn baby to determine if they need special care. Apgar stands for:
Unfortunately, with low Apgar scores, a newborn infant will experience anxiety, continuous sobbing, and disruption of feeding and sleeping.
Although SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, other non-SSRIs also used. Venlafaxine is also an antidepressant. It is an SNRI, not an SSRI, that according to a recent study, may come with an increased risk of dose-related hypertension. Use of SSRIs during late-term pregnancy increases the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in a newborn child. Other factors of hypertension in pregnancy are smoking, obesity, prematurity, and cesarean section. All in all, the risk of using antidepressants in pregnancy are relatively small.
If depression during pregnancy is so severe that a woman is not eating and losing weight, care must be sought immediately. For mild depression, it is highly suggested to undergo a therapy session. If experiencing major depression and on pharmaceutical treatment, it is recommended to stay the course. If the patient suddenly stops the treatment, it will increase their depressive symptoms, according to a study.
Alternative treatments such as CBD oil might be able to help someone with depression, including pregnant women. CBD oil, also known as Cannabidiol is extracted from the cannabis plant. While studies are still being conducted on the oil, people around the world are using it for therapeutic purposes, including treating depression and anxiety.
The worry for most pregnant women is that CBD oil or even hemp oil might affect the baby. While there is a lack of conclusion, a study on embryo’s in mice found that THC (another chemical compound) helped the development of embryos. Through this study, it was also discovered that anandamide levels were increased with the use of CBD, which in turn can reduce embryo development.
It’s clear that more studies need to be conducted on the matter of CBD Oil and depression. If a pregnant woman has a dangerous mental health condition, it can negatively impact the fetus. Depression triggers suicidal ideation. A person who is struggling with depression needs empathy and support from loved ones.
If you plan to use conventional medications, assure there are low risks for your fetus or breastfeeding newborn. If problems persist or are severe, speak to obstetricians and gynecologists, health care providers, or mental health professionals. Before treatment, assure you speak to the proper authorities. Untreated depression festers, but it is treatable with medical supervision.