Everyone is congratulating you on your pregnancy, but inside, you feel unhappy. 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 keep your energy up. Complex carbohydrates, such as wholegrain products like rice and bread, can help sustain your energy.

  • Protein contains an amino acid called tryptophan that 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; it can be your partner, immediate family, and friends. Chat with your friends who are already mothers, and they may be able to address your concerns.

  • Exercises like 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.