HealthDepressionPrepartum Depression and Postpartum Depression: Signs, Symptoms And How...

Prepartum Depression and Postpartum Depression: Signs, Symptoms And How to Treat Them


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Giving birth is one of the most underrated things a woman goes through in her life. As much as parturition is physical pain, going through the entire process of conceiving, gestation period, and the period that follows parturition, also known as the lactation period, impose a separate kind of mental stress on the mother. Mood swings are quite common during pregnancy but if the anxiety pertains for a longer period, it could be Prenatal depression. If the same repeats after parturition (delivery of the baby), it is termed postnatal depression and can have disastrous effects on a woman’s mental health.  

What is Prenatal depression? 

When a woman conceives, a number of hormones like progesterone, etc, increase in her blood while there are several hormones like Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG) and Human placental lactogen (hPL), that are secreted during the pregnancy period. These hormones impose swings in the mother’s moods and might often cause increased amounts of stress. 

A changed body shape does not allow them to fit into their clothes. There are several other changes in the body like gaining fat, losing hair, and weakening of the urinary bladder. The weakened bladder could lead them into dripping of urine, every time they sneeze or laugh or just any kind of movement or activity that might give a jerk to the muscles of the abdomen. 

These factors cause the mother to be in a risky mental space. In several cases, the woman goes into a state of clinical depression and since there could be adverse effects of medication on the fetus, there is limited treatment available for depression during pregnancy. 

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What are the symptoms of Prenatal depression?

Since there is a change in the hormone levels in the body of the mother, she might experience some mood swings sometimes in a week. But, if the mood swings continue for a long time and she experiences restlessness or feels low for a long time, it might be a sign of Prenatal depression. Here are a few signs that indicate Prenatal depression.

  1. Crying at small things or feeling like crying over the most normal things.
  1. Eating disorder is a major sign. A person might eat more than normal at unusual times or might give up eating.
  1. Reduced energy at all times of the day and not feeling active enough to get up from the bed.
  1. The increased amount of pain in the body. Headaches and body aches persist for a long time.
  1. Getting irritated or annoyed very easily at random things.
  1. The mother might sleep for longer times than usual or might completely lose sleep.
  1. Inactivity and feeling like doing nothing. Involvement in no activity brings them happiness or peace, even those that they liked earlier.

How to treat Prenatal depression?

Find a certified counselor or a psychologist who could help the patient in recovering from depression. There are usually two ways to treat depression. Either the patient can be given suitable medication or they could be helped with therapy. Since a pregnant woman cannot be given sedatives, the doctor shall see if there are any suitable medicines that could be administered to the patient, without harming the fetus. Talking therapy is the primary treatment, given in such cases.

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What is Postnatal Depression?

what is postnatal depression

Several hormonal changes take place in a woman even after she has given birth to the baby. Prolactin release stimulates milk production from the mammary glands (in the breast) and oxytocin helps in the ejection of the milk. The lactation period brings with it new challenges for the mother and also the threat of depression. A disfigured body, weak digestion, and thinning of hair are some symptoms that are usually noticed after the baby’s birth. All these changes along with the medication provided to the mother, impose a great deal of stress on her body.

What are the symptoms of Postnatal depression? 

A woman faces the challenge of bringing up their baby in the best ways possible. She is often on the brunt of judgment by society and despite her poor health, she is required to nourish the baby. Since members of the family are mostly focused on the newborn, they often tend to ignore the health of the mother. Here are some symptoms that hint towards a developing Postnatal depression or Postpartum depression.

  1. Mood swings are a primary symptom of depression, especially Postpartum depression. 
  1. The mother can feel irritated and annoyed at most times and might break into tears very often.
  1. She might stop eating or might experience a dislike towards food. Since the mother cannot eat most of the things that she liked before being a mother and is usually fed on boiled food that lacks taste, she suffers from reduced liking for food.
  1.  Gaining weight after pregnancy is normal but very often, it is a symptom of something as serious as depression. Losing weight or weight fluctuations can be threatening and are a major sign of Postpartum depression.
  1. The mother could lose sleep and might keep thinking about something. These signs of depression in pregnancy should not be ignored and help should be sought as soon as possible.
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How to treat Postpartum depression?

Pregnancy depression is common but shouldn’t be taken lightly. Also, it shouldn’t be feared and help should be sought as soon as one starts feeling uneasy with themselves.

  1. Consider talking to your friends and family about how you feel. Ask them if they know a professional who could help you with it.
  1. Ask for help from your doctor/gynecologist and request them to suggest you with some counselor they know.
  1. If ever, if you feel like you are not in the right space of mind and might harm yourself or the baby, inform the police and ask for help.
  1. Avoid being alone and always have someone around you to make sure you have someone to help you whenever you need them.


Pregnancy depression is a common complication suffered by women who are in the gestation period or the lactation period. The signs of depression in pregnancy should never be ignored. Signs of Postnatal depression and Pre depression including insomnia, or excessive sleep, eating disorders, persistent anxiety, mood swings, and breaking into tears most often. To treat Postpartum and Prepartum depression, one should take help from a counselor. Taking therapy and suitable medication can help the patient recover from depression faster.


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