Antepartum Depression: The Before Baby Blues

Depression can be experienced by women even during pregnancy. Here are a few symptoms to look out for.

Antepartum Depression: The Before Baby BluesGrowing research now suggests that, for some women, postpartum depression (PPD) may put down its roots in pregnancy, as early as the first two weeks of gestation. And figures show that depression during pregnancy (or ‘anteparum depression’) is as common as depression after pregnancy – affecting about 1 in 10 pregnant women. So much for happy hormones: “There’s a myth of pregnancy as a time of protection, and we’ve learned that it’s actually a period of increased vulnerability to depression”, explains Dr. Shaila Misri, a reproductive psychiatrist in Vancouver and author of Pregnancy Blues: What Every Woman Needs to Know about Depression During Pregnancy (Delta, September, 2006). Dealing with depression in pregnancy is critical, since women suffering with it may neglect prenatal care and have a 50 percent higher risk of developing postpartum depression.

Not very different from PPD, symptoms can include:

  • Depressed mood/sadness.
  • Disturbed sleep.
  • Change in appetite.
  • Guilty thoughts.
  • Excessive worries about your own or your baby’s health.
  • Panic attacks with heart palpitations and shortness of breath.
  • Recurrent obsessions or ritualistic behaviours that significantly interfere with your ability to carry out your daily activities.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.


Looking for more on handling depression and pregnancy? You’ll be interested in:
Managing Your Pregnancy-Related Emotions
Top 4 Soothing Benefits of Prenatal Massage

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