What effect does depression have on pregnancy?

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Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Depression has been linked to several adverse health problems, and these can be especially harmful during pregnancy as they can harm both the mother and the unborn child. Depression can lead to loss of appetite and weight loss or self-medication through overeating, tobacco or drugs and/or alcohol. Depressed women may also skip prenatal visits. In sum, if you're depressed enough to have it affect your health, it will also affect the health of your child. The good news is that if you recognize it early enough and get treatment, most babies show no noticeable effects.

Unfortunately, most women suffer in silence. They assume they're just supposed to pull up their bootstraps, move on, and be strong. And by the time they actually say that they're feeling depressed, they're really far down the road and suffering from significant distress. That's important to talk about how you're feeling - to people close to you or to your doctor or midwife.

YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy

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YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy

Can I get a cavity filled while pregnant? Will avoiding spicy foods make my kid a picky eater? Can I really increase my baby's IQ while she's in utero? Whether you're pregnant for the first time, are trying to start your family, or already have enough children to start your own basketball team, you're bound to have questions about what it means to be pregnant -- and how you can increase your odds of having a healthy and happy pregnancy. But no matter how much you've read, watched, studied, or talked about this amazing biological journey, you have never read anything like this. In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz act as mythbusters for the hundreds of questions surrounding pregnancy in the same scientific, informative, and entertaining ways that have made them America's Doctors. In these pages, you'll learn everything you need to know about the miracles of fetal development, your health throughout the pregnancy, and providing the best possible environment for your growing child. Pregnancy is a complicated balancing act, but it doesn't have to be frightening. The doctors will help you de-stress as they describe accurately and rationally what happens during a thrilling nine months of life. While every pregnant body is different, odds are you'll experience some of the cravings, crying, and discomfort that almost all women go through. Your best tactic? Learn why these things are happening -- and what you should do about them. YOU: Having a Baby will teach you everything you need to know about what to eat (should I be eating for two?), how much to exercise, and what guilty pleasures will actually make pregnancy easier on you (and the loved ones who get to be around you for the whole thing). Each phase of pregnancy has different challenges, but the right information will prepare you for what's ahead. The interactive week-by-week calendar inside provides an even more detailed guideline for how and what you should feel through every step of the process. Exciting, cutting-edge scientific research in the fi eld of epigenetics has changed the way the medical profession looks at pregnancy, and now it can change your perspective, too. Epigenetics explores what makes us develop in certain ways -- why some people thrive at math while others are prone to chronic diseases. It turns out that there are easy things you can do that will not just help your baby's development in utero but will actually improve his or her chances of living a healthy, fulfi lling adult life. Filled with recipes for nutritious, satisfying snacks and meals even Pop can cook (yes, he can!), safe exercises for staying fit, and tons of YOU tips that will help you stay comfortable, YOU: Having a Baby is the ultimate guidebook for what to do from the moment of conception to the weeks after your child has arrived home. From morning sickness and food cravings to choosing a doctor and changing a diaper, YOU: Having a Baby will give you the real scoop about what's in store for you during this amazing time in your life.

Depression can have multiple effects on pregnancy. Women who are depressed may not take as good care of themselves when they are pregnant, and this may increase the risk of premature delivery or having a baby with low birth weight. Babies of depressed mothers also tend to be more withdrawn and more agitated.

Boston Women's Health Book Collective
Administration Specialist

Depression can affect your ability to care for yourself during pregnancy and to care for yourself and your baby after giving birth. Depression in pregnant women is associated with low weight gain, alcohol and substance abuse, and sexually transmitted infections, all of which can harm mothers and babies. In addition, depression may make bonding with your baby difficult, thus possibly affecting your baby's overall development.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth

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Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth

ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY AND THE BIRTH OF YOUR CHILD -- FROM THE EDITORS OF THE CLASSIC "BIBLE OF WOMEN'S HEALTH" Pregnancy and birth are as ordinary...

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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.