Depression during pregnancy, which often receives little attention, can have long-term consequences for mothers and their babies. While postpartum depression is well studied and controlled, problems during pregnancy are often overlooked. Researchers say that it is the gestational variant that may become more common among expectant mothers in a few years. Waiting for the child often causes vivid emotions, mental state is unstable, and for some women it threatens with problems.
Exploring Pregnant Depression
After comparing the symptoms of depression during pregnancy among two generations of women, researchers in the United States found that it is 51% more common among current generation of expectant mothers aged 19 to 24 when gestational than their mothers generation 25 years ago.Interestingly, the study also showed that the current generation of mothers has a higher risk of depression during pregnancy if their mothers experienced depression while carrying them.
These data reflect the overall increase in depression among young women. But there are factors that can contribute to the growth of pathology among future mothers, in particular – the average age of motherhood. Now he is a bit older than in the 1990s. So, in 1994, the average age was 23 years, compared with 26 today.
According to a 2018 report from the Pew Research Center, today’s young mothers may feel socially isolated. Changing the social circle, more frequent staying at home alone, lack of support are risk factors for depression. It’s not always easy to find support among your age group.
Modern living conditions are such that pregnancy is not always – this is the time when a woman can spend time only on herself. Financial position or incomplete education, lack of privacy is also affected. The proportion of young women who work has increased, and current expectant mothers may be confronted with inflexible work schedules, abnormal situations and problems related to the performance of duties at home. These emotional and physical activities can contribute to depression during pregnancy. If you add financial distress, chronic stress of the modern world, hormonal changes and sleep disorders that accompany pregnancy, the impact of such changes may be excessive.
Risks for a child and a woman
Among other things, it is increasingly recognized that depression during pregnancy can have long-term consequences for the mother and child. First, prenatal depression is associated with an increased risk of postpartum depression, and this can affect the emotional and cognitive development of the child. In a study on the issue of translational psychiatry in 2016, scientists discovered interesting facts using functional magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion MRI. Infants whose mothers were depressed, in the process of carrying them, had changes in the connections and conduction of impulses between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex of their brain. This deserves attention because the prefrontal cortex is crucial for many higher levels of cognitive functions, such as impulse control, decision making, and child behavior planning.
In addition, a high level of prenatal stress in the mother, which often accompanies depression, is associated with higher rates of ADHD in children. Other studies have shown that prenatal depression associated with lower grades of early tests of cognitive development, the child poorly mastered speech and foreign languages.
Emotion problems, positive attitude
To prevent depression, a woman needs to understand that she will not always experience positive emotions during the gestation period. It’s quite normal. Initially, you need to tune in a positive way, taking your feelings and emotions, whatever they may be. A wide range of feelings is very common, ranging from total joy, excitement, fear, anxiety and some sadness. There is an awareness that life will change, which can provoke sadness and negative emotions.
Of course, pregnancy hormones can also affect mood, and some women have more than others. Psychologists or relatives can cope with sad thoughts, it is necessary to give a solution to different feelings, this will be the first step towards protection from depression during the carrying of a baby.
How to help the future mother?
Improving the mood of the future mother can be helped by practicing regular physical training. They also minimize the consumption of simple carbohydrates, which can positively affect emotions.
The future mother should fully relax, sleep well and get support from her partner, friends, family, colleagues or other people. The future mother can share her worries and feelings with people whom she trusts. If there is no full-fledged moral support in your personal life, you can share your feelings with a leading obstetrician, a psychologist at the antenatal clinic. You can find the community of future mothers on the Internet, discussing with them disturbing problems.
Pregnancy is an intense, emotional time that changes life. But if emotions prevent a woman from enjoying things that usually delight and bring positive emotions, it may be time to ask for help.
If a woman suffers from endless tantrums, insomnia, which affects mood, obsessive anxiety, depressed mood and a sense of hopelessness, doubt, or other disturbing emotional changes, you need to tell the doctor about it.
The doctor will assess the condition and refer to the appropriate specialist. Ultimately, treatment of depression during pregnancy helps a woman and potentially her baby both in the prenatal and postpartum periods.