Hormone changes during pregnancy, which affect the chemicals in your brain, can be intensified by life stressors and can lead to depression. Some of the symptoms of depression include: persistent sadness, having difficulty concentrating, change in your sleep habits (sleeping too little or too much), change in your eating habits, lack of interest in activities, thoughts of death, suicide, or hopelessness, anxiety, or feelings of worthlessness or guilt. If you have experienced these symptoms for a longer than 2 weeks, it is critical to seek professional help. Treatment options include support groups, private therapy, medication, and light therapy. For those with mild depression, support groups, private therapy or light therapy may be all that is needed. For severe depression, a combination of therapy and medication may be necessary. For those with mild depression the following may help but are not intended to replace in-person support or therapy.
Things to Try:
- Exercise naturally decreases cortisol while increasing serotonin
- Try to get plenty of sleep
- Eat nutritiously – diet plays a very large role in mental and physical health. Try to increase protein, while limiting caffeine, sugar and processed foods
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – new research has shown that Omega-3/fish oil can help to decrease the symptoms of depression. Check with your healthcare provider or nutritionist for a recommended brand/ dosage.
Depression that is left untreated can potentially harm both mother and baby. It is important to seek treatment immediately.