Mental Health Treatment Options for Women With Depression During Pregnancy
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When you’re pregnant, it’s natural to want to focus all of your time and energy on your physical health to make sure that your baby is taken care of as it’s growing. But your mental health should always be a priority. This is especially true when you’re experiencing changes like having a child.

To some people, particularly those who haven’t experienced being pregnant, it may seem like depression and pregnancy can’t occur at the same time. They believe it should only make you feel overjoyed about the future. But that’s not always true. That expectation is why many pregnant people struggle to speak up about their mental health. Experiencing depression while pregnant, known as prenatal depression, is much more common than you think. Approximately 7% of pregnant women experience depression symptoms.

There are mental health treatment options that can help you with depression for every stage of your life. We’ll talk about symptoms of depression during pregnancy that indicate it’s time for treatment. Then we’ll dive into particular treatment options that can help.

Indicators that a woman requires mental health treatment for depression during pregnancy

It can be easy to assume that every emotional, physical and mental change that you experience during pregnancy is just par for the course. It’s expected to experience symptoms like mood swings and heightened irritability. However, they shouldn’t simply be brushed off. Take note of the frequency and severity of these symptoms. That way you can acknowledge when it’s time to explore mental health treatment options.

Prenatal depression refers to clinical depression experienced by an individual during pregnancy. Just like major depressive disorder, it is characterized by overwhelming and persistent negative feelings and thoughts, especially sadness and worry. These symptoms can also be exacerbated by pregnancy related challenges such as:

  • Excessive worry or anxiety about your baby
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Feeling guilty, particularly about your own feelings during pregnancy
  • Refusal to believe reassurance from others
  • Changes in appetite

Be open and honest with your physician or obstetrician. Honesty is essential for making sure both you and your baby are as healthy as possible. Talking to your provider about your symptoms will help them determine if you should seek treatment for depression during your pregnancy.

Mental health treatment options for depression during pregnancy

Treatment can help reduce depressive behaviors, such as not following prenatal care and lack of weight gain due to inadequate diet.

One of the most effective courses of action for depression treatment is psychotherapy. When it comes to prenatal depression, you can talk to a licensed clinical therapist. You’ll learn about how your depression contributes to the negative thoughts and emotions about your pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. A therapist can help you develop stress management skills and coping mechanisms.

Psychotherapy goes hand in hand with another mental health treatment option for depression during pregnancy: support groups. It’s beneficial to talk to a mental health care provider about your struggles. But it can also be helpful (and comforting) to know that you’re not alone. By talking to other people who are having the same experiences as you, you’re able to gain insight from other perspectives and be motivated to improve.

Self-care can go a long way. When you’re experiencing prenatal depression, habits like regularly exercising and making time for your hobbies can boost your mood and reduce your stress.

You can work with your health care providers to determine the safest and most effective treatment options to alleviate your depression symptoms while pregnant. 

Lightfully Behavioral Health offers compassionate treatment to support you during and after pregnancy

Depression during pregnancy can interfere with your excitement for the future with your child. With effective mental health treatment options, you can alleviate the symptoms that are making your pregnancy more difficult. 

At Lightfully, our levels of care, such as the Intensive Outpatient Program, can help when you’re experiencing depression during pregnancy that’s interfering with your everyday functions. It consists of evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care.

Change is possible. Once you talk to your physician or obstetrician about your symptoms, visit our Contact Us page to ask about an assessment. We’ll take the next steps together.

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