Peri-natal depression affects 10-20% of women and can occur any time from conception through the first year after birth. Depression may be challenging to pick up on as many of the possible symptoms of depression can be similar to that of pregnancy – insomnia, fatigue, appetite changes, decreased energy, or sadness. There are several strategies that can be adopted to help reduce the depression, anxiety and stress associated with pregnancy.
Post-Partum Depression & Anxiety
If depression occurs after the birth of a baby, it is often referred to as post-partum depression.
In the days following the birth of a baby up to 80% women experience the “baby blues”. There may be feelings of sadness, discouragement, helplessness, crying for no apparent reason, significant fatigue, poor concentration, or anxiety. These feelings are common and it is normal for women to feel this way. Many of these feelings tend to subside after the first few weeks.
However, 10-25% of women may experience more troubling feelings of depression or anxiety that goes on longer than the first few weeks after childbirth and are likely experiencing post-partum depression. Post-partum depression also affect women after adoption. Post-partum depression can impact you physically, emotionally, and affect your thinking and behaviour.
Symptoms of post-partum depression may including feeling / experiencing:
- tired, worried or anxious
- irritable or angry
- that you’re “not good enough”
- resentment toward your baby
- crying spells for no apparent reason
- difficulty staying focused / disorganized thoughts
- guilty thoughts
- sleep difficulties
- frightening thoughts ~ may include fear of harming the baby
- sense of hopelessness about the future
- thoughts of ending your life
(Source: BC Women’s Hospital)
Men can also experience post-partum depression. While the prevalence of PPD in men is still a bit unclear, current research suggests that 1 in 10 fathers may experience significant symptoms of depression at some point between the first trimester of their partner’s pregnancy and their baby’s first birthday; depression rates often highest 3-6 months after baby’s birth.
It is not a sign of weakness nor failure if one is experiencing peri-natal or post-partum depression. These are treatable and help is available. Talk to your doctor, public health nurse, midwife or counsellor. If immediate help is needed, please contact the crisis line:
Vancouver Island Crisis Line @ 1-888-494-3888
B.C. wide crisis line @ 1-800-784-2433
Conceivable Options will assist clients to:
- develop supportive strategies to deal with the emotional challenges of pregnancy
- enhance health and self-esteem
- learn strategies to help alleviate the symptoms of peri-natal and post-partum stress, depression & anxiety
- discover/renew healthy coping mechanisms
- enhance their sense of well-being