While many people talk about postnatal depression, antenatal depression isn't a common discussion. Pregnancy comes with lots of highs and lows. Even if it's a positive event in your life, depression can still settle in. Fortunately, there are ways your obstetrician can help.

Understanding Antenatal Depression

Depression during pregnancy is common, and some women encounter the condition for the first time while pregnant. Common symptoms include excessive worrying about your pregnancy, disrupted sleep, feeling emotionally detached, and chronic anxiety. When you notice these symptoms, you should discuss them with your obstetrician. They'll dig further into the way you're feeling and can make treatment recommendations.

Choosing Lifestyle Changes

Your medical team may recommend making some lifestyle changes to promote a happier pregnancy. For example, insomnia is common amongst pregnant women. Sometimes it is difficult to avoid, but you can adjust your routine to achieve better sleep. Other lifestyle factors can include eating better, exercising more, and attending support groups. Support groups are especially useful, as they can help you feel less alone.

Engaging in Talking Therapies

When people around you see pregnancy as an event you should mostly feel positive about, you may experience feelings of alienation. This in itself can exacerbate your symptoms. Many people find it is useful to talk their emotions through with a professional. In addition to alleviating the burden of feeling low, therapists can help you understand some of your negative emotions. For example, if you routinely experience anxiety, they can help you confront your fears and develop stronger coping mechanisms.

Using Medications

Although the thought of using antidepressants during your pregnancy can feel scary, your obstetrician can help you find one that's suitable. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are usually safe for use during pregnancy. They can take a few weeks to adjust to, so it's best to have guidance from a medical professional who specialises in pregnancy while you settle into your new routine. If you do try antidepressants and you find they are not working, don't just stop them suddenly. You'll need appropriate medical support to stop taking them in order to stay safe.

In addition to using your obstetrician as a form of support for antenatal depression, discuss your condition with family and friends. Having support from those around you can make daily life less overwhelming. You may also want to discuss your risk factors for postnatal depression so you can receive support after giving birth too.