It is normal for women to suffer mental health problems for the first time in pregnancy. Some women may feel more helpless and anxious, and some may suffer from depression. Women who have serious mental health problems in the past or in the present are more prone to become ill during pregnancy or in the year after their delivery.

However, some women with a history of serious mental illness remain well during their pregnancy. Well, if you suffer from mental health problems and are planning to conceive then you should talk to your doctor or psychiatrist.

How Can Pregnancy Affect Mental Health?

In some cases, pregnancy related symptoms can be confused with the signs of mental illness.  Mental health in pregnancy depends on certain factors such as:

  • the type of mental illness you suffered in past
  • whether you are taking treatment
  • recent stressful events in your life
  • your feeling about your pregnancy

Sometimes women feel worried about their pregnancy and having a baby. Worries about after birth are common during pregnancy:

  • changes in responsibility
  • changes in relationships
  • fear of childbirth
  • lack of support

Well, anxiety and depression are the most common mental illnesses during pregnancy. However, women can also suffer from many other mental health conditions during pregnancy.

Depression and Pregnancy :

During pregnancy and in the postnatal period, most women are diagnosed with depression. Women with depression may suffer complications that may also affect their babies. Early treatment is the best way to overcome this problem. Following are the common symptoms of depression during and after pregnancy:

  • feeling depressed for most of the days of the week
  • feeling angry, irritable, or anxious for most of the time
  • increased weeping
  • decreased interest in your favorite activities
  • sleeping issues
  • appetite change
  • extreme tiredness
  • difficulty in concentration
  • feeling detached from your baby
  • suicidal thoughts

If such symptoms appear you should immediately consult your doctor. Your doctor may recommend you certain blood tests to find out any medical condition that can resemble depression, including, anemia or thyroid conditions. Mild to moderate depression can be managed with psychological counseling. However, in the case of severe depression, you will be required to use antidepressants.

Anxiety and Pregnancy :

Almost 30% of the pregnant women suffer anxiety. However, only a few will suffer severe symptoms. Symptoms of anxiety may include:

  • worry, stress
  • difficulty in staying calm
  • difficulty to fall asleep
  • recurring worrying thoughts
  • panic attacks

Anxiety is usually treated with psychological therapies. Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction and regular exercise can also be beneficial. In severe cases, medicines may be required.