By: Beth Walsh for Uterus1
One in seven women suffers from depression before, during or after pregnancy, and their doctors should be more proactive in diagnosing the condition, according to a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry.
|Consider the following symptoms of depression and talk to your physician if you think you have a problem:Feeling sad for more than two weeks|
Sleeping too much
Lack of interest, especially in past hobbies/interests
Feelings of guilt
Loss of energy
Changes in appetite
Restlessness, agitation or slowed movement
Thoughts of suicide
At least 10 percent of women experience depression during pregnancy, and postpartum depression affects 400,000 women in the United States. Many women dismiss their feelings as part of the moodiness of pregnancy or changing hormone levels right after pregnancy. But, certain factors make you more susceptible. They include a personal or family history of depression, relationship difficulties, and stresses such as fertility treatments and previous pregnancy loss.
Lead author Patricia Dietz, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Reproductive Health, found that the prevalence of depression in women before, during and after pregnancy was similar.
For the study, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, Dietz’s team collected data on 4,398 women who gave birth between 1998 and 2001. They found that 8.7 percent of the women experienced depression in the nine months before pregnancy, 6.9 percent during pregnancy, and 10.4 percent in the nine months following childbirth.
Some 15.4 percent of the women were depressed during at least one of these periods. Almost 75 percent of women with postpartum depression also suffered from depression before pregnancy. More than 50 percent of women who were depressed before pregnancy were depressed during pregnancy, Dietz said.
In addition, 93.4 percent of the women who were diagnosed with depression before, during or after pregnancy had seen a mental health professional or were taking antidepressants. Among women with depression, 75 percent had taken antidepressants. Seventy-seven percent had before pregnancy, 67 percent had during pregnancy and 82 percent had after delivery, the researchers found.
It’s important for prenatal care providers to know if new patients already have been diagnosed with depression, Dietz said. And, screening for depression needs to occur during pregnancy and right afterward. Women should report any signs of depression to their doctor, Dietz said.
Because postpartum depression can inhibit a woman’s ability to bond with her baby, relate to the child’s father, and perform daily activities, it’s crucial to talk with your doctor and get appropriate treatment.