Fact: The Majority of Women Experience Mental Health Issues During Pregnancy

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Many women remain unaware of the fact that pregnancy changes their brains in terms of physiology. As a result, the woman’s mood and behavior might change, and these changes can persist long after the pregnancy ends. Researchers have been studying this topic and shared some of their findings at Neuroscience 2022. This annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience serves as the premier source of news regarding brain health and science in the world today.

What should a women know about her mental health when she becomes pregnant?

Women Experience Mental Health Issues During Pregnancy

Common Mental Health Conditions During Pregnancy

A woman might find she needs therapy during pregnancy or immediately after the birth for several mental conditions. Approximately 3.5 million births occur every year in America. Experts believe 700,000 women will experience a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression, during their pregnancy or upon giving birth. This condition affects not only the mom, but the baby, the mom’s family, and society as a whole.

Major Depression

Up to ten percent of pregnant women suffer from major depression. They find they are depressed most of the day and experience this depression almost every day if not every day. This mood lasts for a minimum of two weeks, and the woman no longer has an interest in things she used to enjoy.

The mom might struggle with a lack of energy or feel tired all the time. On the other hand, she might find she is restless and cannot concentrate. Some women sleep constantly, and others find they cannot get to sleep or stay asleep.

Feelings of guilt or worthlessness are common in those who are depressed. The woman might contemplate suicide or have recurring thoughts about death. Sadly, this condition rarely goes away on its own.

A woman who is depressed needs to see her doctor right away. She may not eat properly, which can harm both her and the baby. A depressed mom may smoke or drink, which can lead to premature labor or low birth weight. She might also exhibit suicidal behavior.  Help is needed right away for these women.

Anxiety Disorders

A woman might also experience anxiety during her pregnancy. Many women find they suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. They may have panic attacks or worry excessively. Hyperventilation and restless sleep have also been reported by many who are pregnant or recently gave birth. The mom might find who worries repeatedly about things that might harm the baby. Help is available in these situations.

Treating Mental Health Issues During Pregnancy

A woman might be tempted to stop treatment for an existing mental health condition during pregnancy because she fears any medications may harm the baby. Women who develop a mental health condition while pregnant such as antepartum depression might avoid seeking treatment for the same reason. However, a psychiatric illness in the mother can be dangerous to both the mom and child. Any woman experiencing mental health issues during pregnancy should talk with her doctor to learn the pros and cons of treatment. With this information, she and her doctor can determine how best to proceed with treatment during pregnancy and following the birth of the child.

Any woman experiencing one or more of these symptoms should seek mental health treatment during pregnancy. Doing so ensures help is received promptly. With the right care, a woman can overcome these issues and look forward to life with her family once again.

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