What should I do if I have symptoms of depression during pregnancy?

Deborah Davis
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
If you feel you may be struggling with depression during pregnancy, the most important thing is to seek help.  Talk with your health care provider about your symptoms and struggles.  Your health care provider wants the healthiest choice for you and your baby and may discuss options with you for treatment.  Treatment options for women who are pregnant can include support groups, private psychotherapy, medication and light therapy.

Call your doctor if:

Your baby blues don't go away after 2 weeks Symptoms of depression get more and more intense Symptoms of depression begin any time after delivery, even many months later It is hard for you to perform tasks at work or at home You cannot care for yourself or your baby You have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Your doctor can ask you questions to test for depression. Your doctor can also refer you to a mental health professional that specializes in treating depression.

Some women don't tell anyone about their symptoms. They feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty about feeling depressed when they are supposed to be happy. They worry they will be viewed as unfit parents.

Any woman may become depressed during pregnancy or after having a baby. It doesn't mean you are a bad or "not together" mom. You and your baby don't have to suffer. There is help.

Here are some other helpful tips:

Rest as much as you can. Sleep when the baby is sleeping. Don't try to do too much or try to be perfect. Ask your partner, family, and friends for help. Make time to go out, visit friends, or spend time alone with your partner. Discuss your feelings with your partner, family, and friends. Talk with other mothers so you can learn from their experiences. Join a support group. Ask your doctor about groups in your area. Don't make any major life changes during pregnancy or right after giving birth. Major changes can cause unneeded stress. Sometimes big changes can't be avoided. When that happens, try to arrange support and help in your new situation ahead of time.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

Continue Learning about Depression Symptoms

Depression Symptoms

Depression Symptoms

Depression is more than just a low mood. Symptoms of depression include chronic sad feelings lasting up to two weeks, lack of interest in activities normally enjoyed, sleep disruption, overeating or appetite loss, feelings of guil...

t or worthlessness and a preoccupation with death/suicide. Depression symptoms also differ in men and women; the onset may follow highly stressful events such as physical and emotional trauma. Men tend to be more irritable and act out while women often cry or sleep more.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.