What happens when you have prenatal depression?

Everyone is congratulating you on your pregnancy but you feel unhappy inside. You may even feel guilty and confused about your feelings. Don’t be so hard on yourself – you’re not alone. Other moms-to-be face prenatal depression, too. 

The signs of prenatal depression vary. In general, look out for symptoms, such as severe mood swings, anxiety, overwhelming sadness, irritability, decreased concentration, disinterest in the things you used to enjoy, insomnia, fatigue, panic attacks, feelings of hopelessness or wanting to cry all the time. 

 

Why do you feel depressed during pregnancy?

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make you more emotional and sensitive. This also occurs when you are experiencing other uncomfortable symptoms for the first time, such as morning sickness and fatigue. These unfamiliar changes may make you feel more frustrated and exhausted, contributing to depression.

 

What can you do to look after your emotional health?

Eat:

  • A well-balanced diet filled with essential nutrients can help to keep your energy up. Complex carbohydrates, such as wholegrain products like rice and bread, can sustain your energy 

  • Protein contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which may increase the production of a mood-elevating chemical in your brain known as serotonin. 

  • Good sources of protein include tofu, tempeh, milk, chicken and salmon 

Do:

  • Seek professional help. Therapy and counseling provide a safe space to talk about your feelings 

  • Have a support team – these can be your partner, family members and friends. Chat with your friends who are already mothers and they may be able to address your concerns  

  • Exercise, such as yoga or swimming, will help your body release chemicals called endorphins, triggering a positive feeling. But do check with your doctor about appropriate prenatal exercises

 

Been feeling down a lot? Learn why, here.