While postnatal depression, which can occur following the birth of a child, is becoming more talked about amid increased awareness of the condition, have you heard of prenatal depression?
Also called antenatal depression, this is a mental health condition that can occur during pregnancy and prior to the birth of a child.
Reality star Charlotte Crosby recently said that prenatal depression left her bedbound while she was pregnant with her daughter.
"It felt like it was only two weeks. But it was two weeks of feeling like I could not get out of bed," the Geordie Shore star said on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast.
"There was a dark cloud hanging over my head. It wasn't that I didn't want the baby. I felt so low. I didn't want to do anything. I was flat, I can't even describe it. It's indescribable."
What is prenatal depression?
Prenatal or antenatal depression affects approximately one in 10 pregnant women (12%) according to the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).
It is a type of depression that forms during pregnancy, and can get worse if not treated, with the possibility of turning into postnatal depression once the child is born.
Prenatal depression signs and symptoms
Some signs and symptoms of prenatal depression include:
Feeling sad, having a low mood, or being tearful more often than usual
Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
Feeling irritable or getting angry easily
Eating more or less than normal
Loss of interest in people and events around you
Worries that you won’t be able to take care of your baby
Feeling guilty or hopeless
Causes of prenatal depression
The NCT says the most common cause of prenatal depression is hormone imbalance, but that this is unlikely to be the sole cause.
Prenatal depression is more common in women who have a history of depression, have suffered previous miscarriages, who have an unplanned pregnancy, are struggling with pressure to ‘do things right’, had a difficult childhood, and who have a poor support system.
Prenatal depression treatment
If you suspect you may have prenatal depression, the NHS advises talking to your GP or midwife as soon as possible.
It adds that there are several treatments that can be followed, including self-help exercises such as breath work and speaking to friends and family about how you are feeling. Other options include cognitive behavioural therapy, and taking antidepressant medicines.
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