What is antenatal and postnatal depression?

As part of the Clinical Psychology unit I am currently studying, we have done a fair bit on parental mental health. This week I thought I would talk about depression, addressing what antenatal and postnatal depression is. I hope this is useful for you and sheds light on new things you may not have considered before.

The Frugal Frenchie

Symptoms for antenatal depression

According to the diagnosis criteria (DSM-5)…

  • Chronic anxiety
  • Guilty
  • Incessant crying
  • Lack of energy- which lack of sleep doesn’t help
  • Relationship worries- will my partner leave once the baby is born?
  • Conflict with parents
  • Isolation – from friends, or due to not feeling the same as other mums
  • Fear to seek help – will my baby be taken away if I speak out?

Causes of antenatal depression

  • Physical

There are many physical changes during pregnancy. For some, body changes can be distressing: weight gain, swollen breasts, dizziness, nausea, exhaustion, heartburn, fainting etc. It can lower self-esteem and make normal, mundane activities suddenly seem unachievable or difficult, which can lead to isolation or feelings on inadequacy.

Hormonal changes and tiredness can also impact mental health – in fact, Ohayon & Roth (2003) found over 40% of participants reported symptoms of insomnia before developing a mood disorder, including depression and bipolar disorder. This was supported by findings showing that treating insomnia symptoms can be beneficial towards reducing/preventing depression (Londborg, et al, 2000).

What is antenatal and postnatal depression? Continue reading “What is antenatal and postnatal depression?”