Every woman knows that with pregnancy comes change. Since these changes are understood as common, it is easy to overlook signs of depression during pregnancy. “It’s just the hormones,” you think as you weep your way through another day. You may be right, it may just be hormones. However, if those hormones have had you feeling signs of depression for two weeks or longer, you may have a larger problem on your hands.
Lack of Interest
Pregnancy is often a joyous time for women. Debating names, picking out clothes and planning a new future are all worthy of excitement. However, women who suffer from depression during pregnancy may find that the pastimes that once thrilled them are now nothing—not good, not bad, not anything. Often with this lack of interest comes withdrawal. If you find that you no longer want to spend time doing things you love with the people you love, it is probably time to talk to your physician about your feelings.
During pregnancy it is not uncommon to have periods of high or low energy. However, bouts of low energy associated with depression are persistent and, according to the American Pregnancy Association, coincide with other depression symptoms. Low energy may cause a woman to sleep abnormally, or depression can be caused by limited sleep. These changes in sleeping patterns are depression signs to be on the lookout for.
As hormones fluctuate, so do moods. However, feeling sad for weeks at a time with no outside influence, such as the death of a loved one, is abnormal. The National Women’s Health Information Center suggests that frequent crying, a sense of helplessness and feeling constantly overwhelmed or worthless are all signs of depression that may accompany those feelings of sadness during pregnancy.
Aches and Pains
Persistent body aches, headaches and stomach problems seem natural during pregnancy; you are carrying a bowling ball in front of you everywhere you go, after all. While pregnancy is often described as being occasionally uncomfortable, it should not cause constant pain. If experiencing other signs as well, depression may be the true cause of pain.
Most people understand that suicidal thoughts are a sign of depression. However, the March of Dimes reveals that the term “suicidal thoughts” reaches far beyond planning suicide. A pregnant woman with suicidal thoughts may fantasize about suicide or think frequently about it without necessarily considering suicide as a viable option. Even without other signs of depression, suicidal thoughts are cause for deep concern. If you are having these thoughts, it is suggested that you seek help immediately.