“According to a recent analysis by the CDC, the rate of pregnant women with a depression diagnosis at delivery increased by seven times from 2000 to 2015. Additionally, recent CDC research, shows that about 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression.”
So I’m just going to jump right in ladies because honestly while I want this post to be informative (and it will be) I also feel the need to vent and brain dump. I hope you won’t mind.
To put it bluntly, this pregnancy has been an emotional sh!&t show for me! Like the entire pregnancy, no exaggeration.
My pregnancy began with a pretty bad car accident at only 6 weeks. This caused me to suffer from a concussion, anxiety about the baby’s development and driving anxiety. As my pregnancy progressed and morning sickness set in, my mood naturally dropped. This, in combination with fatigue and pregnancy hormones, had me a grumpy mess.
The point where I felt like I may really be experiencing pregnancy depression was around 30 weeks. I looked in the mirror and hardly recognized my body. My belly looked almost twice the size that it did when I was at that stage in pregnancy with my son. My aches and pains were increasing by the day and I felt so overwhelmed with the reality that I was going to be a mom of two that I wanted to scream!
The next couple of weeks that followed I was in a fog. My pelvic girdle pain made it almost impossible to walk and I still had to manage to keep up with my very energetic 2 year old while my husband worked 10 hour days. The mom guilt ate away at me because I couldn’t play with him like he was used to and he was getting more screen time for me to keep him occupied. Everything finally came to a head when randomly a video on depression during pregnancy was in my suggested watch list on YouTube. I watched this pregnant mom of two breakdown as she described her symptoms and found myself breaking down right with her as I listened to her describe me too. It was definitely a wake up call.
It felt good to know that I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling and if you are feeling anxious and/or depressed during your pregnancy then you aren’t alone either.
Reasons A Woman May Experience Anxiety/ Depression During Pregnancy.There are a number of reasons why women may suffer from anxiety or depression during pregnancy. I, myself have a history of anxiety so I’m prone to experiencing it in pregnancy as well. But even without a history of anxiety there are factors during pregnancy and postpartum that put you at an increased risk of experiencing issues with this. These factors include:
•Poor support system.
•Experiencing an unintended pregnancy.
•Experiencing violence from your partner.
•Planning for your new baby.
The list could go on forever.
What Are Signs That You May Be Experiencing Anxiety/ Depression During Pregnancy?
According to the MayoClinic.org some signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression during pregnancy are:
•Excessive anxiety about your pregnancy.
•Poor response to reassurance.
•Low self-esteem such as feelings of inadequacy about parenthood.
•The inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable.
•Thoughts of suicide.
Possible Effects Of Having Anxiety/ During Pregnancy
I think it goes without saying that having anxiety and depression during pregnancy and postpartum can have negative effects on both you and your baby. According to a study conducted by The Academy of Medical Sciences of Bosnia and Herzegovina in extreme cases these effects can include:
•Pregnancy loss in the first trimester.
•Low birth weight.
•Impaired cognitive ability for mom.
•Irritability and restlessness for mom.
•A weak interaction between mother and child.
Ways To Treat Anxiety/ Depression During Pregnancy
I think it’s important to note that if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression that you can no longer safely manage yourself, you should reach out to a healthcare provider as soon as possible. And I mean that in a sincere from the bottom of my heart way, not just a standard disclaimer. Symptoms such as suicidal thoughts and aggression toward yourself or your children can not go ignored. Please don’t let the shame of experiencing those feelings stop you from seeking help. So many women have struggled with the same things. Seriously, you are not alone.❤️
Natural Ways To Manage Anxiety/ Depression During Pregnancy
There’s no shame in using medication to combat the symptoms of anxiety and depression (I’ve been there, trust me). And there are medications that are safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding. But here is a list of some natural alternatives that you can try as well.
I was someone who thought meditation was strange and was not onboard at all at first, but after being recommended meditation by my therapist I’ve found it to be extremely helpful. Taking a quiet moment to yourself to calm your mind is extremely effective at combating anxiety and there are tons of free videos on YouTube that you can get started with. I also love this website LoveYourBrain.com and their meditation library.
•Communicate Effectively w/ Your Support System About How You Feel
When I finally opened up to my husband about how I had been feeling, it was like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I had now opened the window of communication for me to be able to confide in him whenever I felt overwhelmed and anxious. And we modified how we ran our household so that I felt better supported and ultimately less anxious. Confide in someone that you have in your corner and ask for help when you need it. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel knowing that you have help when you need it.
•Stay Consistent w/ Prioritizing Sleep And Self-Care
Sleep has been extremely hard to come by this entire pregnancy and especially now that I’m in my third trimester. Whether baby girl is wiggling around, I’m struggling to get comfortable or running back and forth to bathroom, sleeping through the night has been nonexistent for me. But I’ve been trying to find different ways to get in that much needed rest like napping with my son and allowing myself to rest when my husband is home. And although I’m still working on prioritizing self-care, I’ve been making it a habit to have my nails done, plan out alone time for me to do the things I enjoy and spending time in prayer.
Anxiety and depression during pregnancy can be debilitating at times but the sooner you recognize what you’re experiencing, the sooner you can get on track to feeling back to yourself and being the best mommy for your babies. ❤️