Women’s Health and Maternal Depression

For new mothers, it’s common to experience feelings of depression during and after their pregnancies. According to the CDC’s official page on maternal depression, 1 in 9 women experience some form of maternal depression. This depression can be slight, with fluctuating feelings of sadness and stress, but in some mothers it’s much more extreme. While emotionalness is common, especially during pregnancy when hormones are drastically fluctuating, depression is a feeling of extreme sadness that doesn’t go away after a few days.


Symptoms of maternal depression


If you’re an expectant or new mother, it’s vital that you look out for these symptoms. Having maternal depression can seriously impact you and your child, so it should be treated as soon as possible. Treatment is possible, but you need to talk to a trained professional who can determine what will work the best for you. Here are the main symptoms of maternal depression, varying between types of maternal depression: unable to sleep, fatigue, weeping, irritability, frustration, anxiety, extreme mood fluctuations, obsessive thoughts (commonly of harming the infant), inability to bond with child, and suicidal thoughts. While this list is quite long, there are still many other symptoms that could indicate signs of maternal depression.


Different types


Maternal depression is the overarching category of experiencing depression when pregnant or post-pregnancy; there are a few types of maternal depression that have different symptoms and occur at different times of the pregnancy. The first is prenatal depression, which can occur in the very early stages of pregnancy and even before a woman becomes pregnant, but her body is preparing to. Baby Blues occurs during pregnancy and can affect up to 80% of expectant mothers. Postpartum depression is the intense depression that occurs after a baby is born and is diagnosed once feelings of depression last over two after the baby’s birth. The final type is postpartum psychosis, which is rare, but also very dangerous. Hospitalization is necessary because symptoms of this kind of maternal depression include auditory and visual hallucinations involving the baby and a “presence of darkness,” which often leads women suffering from this depression to attempt to harm their newborn children.


An extensive guide on maternal depression is available at this link.