Can Depression Impact Your Unborn Child's Health?

Health & Medical Blog

During pregnancy, some women experience depression that can not only be harmful to their own mental and physical health, but also impact their unborn children. It is important to take the symptoms of depression seriously and seek medical intervention. If you are pregnant and believe you are experiencing depression, here is what you need to know. 

How Does Pregnancy Impact You and Your Baby's Health?

Depression can impact your mental health by causing feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and sadness. As a result, your everyday habits could change. For instance, your appetite and sleep patterns could change. Support from family and friends during this time is crucial, but the emotions you are experiencing could lead you to withdraw from them. 

All of these symptoms can lead to complications for your pregnancy. Symptoms that can occur include premature birth and an underweight baby. Once your baby is born, he or she could be less active and more irritable. 

What Causes Depression?

There are a number of causes that can lead to depression during pregnancy. One of the main causes is hormones. Your hormones are constantly fluctuating throughout the pregnancy. Those fluctuations can lead to instability in your emotions, which can sometimes trigger feelings of depression. 

If you are having a high-risk pregnancy, you could also experience depression. The stress of trying to follow your OB/GYN's orders and the threat of your child's health being at risk can be overwhelming.  

Other factors that could lead to the development of depression include a previous diagnosis of depression, stress, and genetics. 

What Can You Do?

One of the most important things you can do if you are exhibiting any of the signs of depression is to talk to your OB/GYN. He or she can make a referral to a psychiatrist who is experienced in treating pregnant women with mental health disorders. The psychiatrist and your OB/GYN can explore treatment options together.  

Depending on the severity of your symptoms and how far along your pregnancy is, the psychiatrist might prescribe an antidepressant as part of the treatment plan. If so, it is imperative that you follow the directions for treatment to avoid complications. 

You also need to focus on lifestyle changes to help alleviate some of the stress you experiencing. For instance, call on family members and friends to help with chores. Take some personal time for yourself when needed. In addition to these steps, it is important that you exercise. Regular exercise helps to alleviate the symptoms of depression.


14 November 2016