Identify Signs of Pregnancy Depression

Pregnancy depression

Depression can indeed affect all people regardless of age, gender, and cultural background; certain types of depression only affect women. Some mood changes affect women differently than they affect men, and depression is one of them.

Suffering from depression is a challenging thing for every individual because it disrupts their normal lives while deeply affecting their emotional and mental well-being. However, the gender difference between men and women sometimes makes matters worse for women.

What is postpartum depression, or post pregnancy depression?

Postpartum depression is arguably the most common, negative, or misleading form of depression. Postpartum depression is a mental disorder and medical condition. A woman may suffer from depression during pregnancy and have extreme stages of stress, anger, anxiety, irritability, and worthlessness. These symptoms generally last up to a few weeks, but in some cases, their impact can be long-lasting and significantly dangerous for a person’s well-being. Women may suffer from severe anxiety, mood imbalances, loneliness, sadness, low self-esteem, or depression during pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression or postnatal depression?

The symptoms of postpartum depression may include:

  • Crying more excessively than usual
  • Low sense of self-esteem and a feeling of worthlessness
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • trouble falling asleep
  • thought about a newborn infant
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Loss of appetite or excessive appetite
  • Thoughts about self-harm and suicidal thoughts

What causes postpartum depression?

Depression during pregnancy

Pregnancy causes extreme hormonal imbalances in women, so it is possible for mothers to experience depression during pregnancy or depression after pregnancy. Pregnancy depression after birth, if it remains unresolved at an early stage, can turn. Severe depression during pregnancy or after pregnancy can transform into postpartum depression.

Genetic factors and family history

The genes also play a role in pregnancy depression. Certain genes carry the factors responsible for causing postpartum depression. If there is a family history of pregnancy depression in the family, there are chances that genes will be passed onto future generations.

Life situations such as work, family, or relationships

During pregnancy, a woman is going through very difficult times. At this stage, they need emotional support from loved ones and families. Life situations such as disturbed familial relationships, stress at work and career, and spouses may trigger severe depression during pregnancy.

Previous History of Depressive Episodes

Lack of social support, love, and warmth

Women require extreme love and support from their partners, families, and friends. Lack of proper care and support may cause loneliness and extreme sadness in mothers.

Postpartum depression tends to occur after childbirth when the mother is neglected by the family and the overwhelming responsibility of the child disrupts their mental health.

Miscarriage or infertility

A previous case of miscarriage or infertility may also act as a risk factor for pregnancy depression. Pregnancy depression can further worsen overall mental and emotional well-being.

of a woman if not checked early.

Levels of thyroid and cortisol

Low levels of thyroid hormone also cause pregnancy depression. The thyroid is a growth hormone responsible for food energy storage in the body. The cortisol hormone, which is called the stress hormone, may also cause pregnancy depression. A high cortisol level is linked with high stress in women.

When does postpartum depression start?

Postpartum depression can occur during pregnancy or after giving birth.

Early signs included anxiety and sadness. In this state, several ups and downs are going on inside the bodies of women. From changes that cause mood imbalances, lack of sleep, digestion issues, bloating, and weight gain, a woman’s body has to adapt to a lot of rustic changes. During pregnancy, depression, if the signs and symptoms are detected early, can turn into postpartum depression later. After childbirth, new mothers are still at greater risk of developing postpartum depression and a severe form of anxiety.

How long does postpartum depression last?

How long does postpartum depression last? Pregnancy depression could last up to a year or more after giving birth. New mothers need to be nurtured, cared for, and supported in the drastic life challenges and responsibilities they are facing.

What is postpartum psychosis?

Postpartum psychosis is a serious form of pregnancy depression that needs urgent medical treatment. Experienced in women after birth, it affects 1 in every 10,000 mothers. Postpartum psychosis symptoms are more severe and extreme and can include agitation, irritability, mania, hyperactivity, hallucinations, confusion, hopelessness, lack of sleep, insomnia, delusions, etc. It is an extreme case of pregnancy depression that needs to be treated at an early stage as soon as possible.

Postpartum anxiety vs. postpartum depression

Postpartum anxiety is a different form of postpartum depression. Postpartum anxiety is a case of severe anxiety, restlessness, worries, panic, and fears. It is also related to women with pregnancies and can be equally disruptive, like postpartum depression.

How can postpartum depression be treated?

Postpartum depression, when detected early, should be treated immediately if possible. When pregnancy depression is in its initial stage, it can be treated early before developing into postpartum depression. Hence, family members must look for initial signs.


Medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers could work for the treatment of postpartum depression. Anti-anxiety medications are also prescribed to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and subsequent stress.


Therapeutic techniques, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), group therapy, and family therapy, can be beneficial to women with postpartum depression.

Postpartum psychosis may require Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) sessions—an electrical bass method to send signals to the brain to boost proper functioning.

ECT is an effective method for treating treatment resistant mental disorders where traditional medication and therapeutic approaches don’t work.

Additionally, having support groups with a trustworthy circle can help manage stress and navigate feelings post-pregnancy.

Depression scale

Many mental health professionals use the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to diagnose postpartum depression. This depression scale uses a set of 10 questions related to symptoms of depression, such as being anxious, sad, etc. Based on the responses on this scale, the score helps determine the severity and possibility of postpartum depression in women.

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