Risks of Depression During Pregnancy. Learn More About Pregnancy Depression Symptoms & Treatment. Understanding Depression and Pregnancy.

Pregnancy is often viewed as a time of joy and anticipation, but for some women, it can bring about unexpected emotional challenges. Depression during pregnancy, also known as antenatal or prenatal depression, is a condition that deserves attention and understanding. This article aims to shed light on the risks associated with depression during pregnancy, as well as the signs to watch out for. Additionally, we will explore available treatment options that can offer hope and support to women navigating this complex emotional journey.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental illness that causes people to feel sad, alone, and uninterested in living their daily lives. Depression is a normal reaction to problems in life and low self-esteem, but extreme depression that lasts for a long time can make it hard to live a full life. It’s paramount to get help from an expert in healthcare because depression can be treated, which gives people hope for getting better.

Can Pregnancy Cause Depression?

A lot of changes happen to your body while you’re pregnant. You might feel depressed during pregnancy because of all the stress that comes with these changes. You might feel different about yourself and the world around you after this change in how you think. Postpartum depression is more likely to happen to people who are depressed during pregnancy.

How Common is Pregnancy Depression?

Expectant moms may experience depression during this time, which is about 7% of all pregnant women. Most likely, rates are even higher in countries with low and medium incomes. Depression is the most common mood disease in the general population. People with depression feel sad all the time and lose interest in everyday things. It happens twice as often in women as in men, and the first signs usually show up when a woman is most fertile.

Why is it that Depression During Pregnancy isn’t Always Noticed?

Changes in sleep, energy, appetite, and libido are some of the signs of depression that are similar to those of pregnancy. Because of this, you or your doctor might think these symptoms are caused by your pregnancy instead of depression.

Because depression is seen as a bad thing, women may not want to talk to their doctors about changes in their feelings during pregnancy. During pregnancy, people also tend to pay more attention to women’s physical health than their mental health.

What are the Risk Factors of Depression During Pregnancy?

Depression during pregnancy can be influenced by various risk factors that contribute to its onset. Understanding these risk factors is crucial in identifying women who may be more vulnerable to experiencing depression during this significant life stage. Here are some key risk factors associated with depression during pregnancy:

  • Depression History: Previous depression episodes, whether during past pregnancies or at other times, increase the risk of antenatal depression.
  • Hormonal Fluctuations: Hormonal changes, like elevated estrogen and progesterone levels during pregnancy, can influence brain neurotransmitters and contribute to mood disorders.
  • Stressful Life Events: Significant stressors, such as relationship difficulties, financial challenges, or the loss of a loved one, raise the likelihood of pregnancy-related depression.
  • Lack of Social Support: Limited support from partners, family, or friends heightens the risk of depression, emphasizing the role of a strong support network in emotional well-being.
  • Unplanned Pregnancy: Unexpected or unwanted pregnancies can pose emotional challenges and increase the risk of depression.
  • Pregnancy Complications: Women experiencing pregnancy complications, like gestational diabetes or preterm labor, face a higher susceptibility to depression.
  • History of Abuse or Trauma: Previous abuse, trauma, or adverse childhood experiences can elevate the risk of pregnancy-related depression.
  • Substance Abuse: Struggling with substance abuse or addiction issues amplifies the likelihood of experiencing depression during pregnancy.

If a woman has one or more danger factors, that doesn’t mean she will get depressed during her pregnancy. However, knowing about these risk factors can help healthcare workers offer the right kind of support and interventions to improve emotional health during this critical time.

What are Pregnancy Depression Symptoms?

Antenatal or prenatal depression, which is another name for pregnancy depression, can show up in different ways for different women. To find and treat sadness during pregnancy, it’s necessary to be aware of these signs. Here are some signs that you should be mindful of:

  • Persistent Low Mood: Sustained feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or being overwhelmed are significant symptoms of antenatal depression.
  • Loss of Interest: A reduced interest or inability to enjoy previously engaging activities is a common sign of depression.
  • Appetite and Weight Changes: Significant fluctuations in need leading to weight loss or gain may manifest in pregnant women with depression.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Depression during pregnancy can lead to insomnia or excessive sleep, including prolonged hours of sleep.
  • Fatigue: Constant fatigue or a lack of energy, regardless of sufficient rest, is a prevalent symptom of depression.
  • Cognitive Challenges: Difficulties in concentration, decision-making, or memory lapses are mental symptoms frequently observed during pregnancy depression.
  • Feelings of Guilt and Worthlessness: Intense guilt, worthlessness, or self-blame may be experienced by pregnant women with depression.
  • Heightened Anxiety and Irritability: Increased anxiety, restlessness, or irritability can indicate depression during pregnancy.

Depression during pregnancy can be influenced by various risk factors that contribute to its onset.
Depression during pregnancy can be influenced by various risk factors that contribute to its onset.

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Tips on Managing Depression During Pregnancy

Self-Care First: Prioritize self-care, with ample rest and a balanced diet. Your well-being matters.

Talk It Out: Open up to loved ones; they want to support you. Share your feelings for valuable connections.

Seek Professional Help: Consult a healthcare provider for guidance and referrals when needed.

Medication Insights: Discuss medication options with your doctor. Many are safe for pregnancy, but it’s crucial to talk about your unique situation.

Communities: Connect with others who understand. Join support groups to share and learn from similar experiences.

Therapy Matters: Consider therapy. Professional counseling can provide tools to manage symptoms effectively.

Regular Check-ups: Stay committed to prenatal check-ups. Open communication ensures holistic care.

Empower Yourself: Stay informed about depression during pregnancy. Knowledge is your ally.

Depression Fact Sheet

Depression Overview

Depression is a group of illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder connected to mood elevation or depression.

Types of Depression

Clinical Depression: A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.

Persistent depressive disorder: A mild but long-term form of depression.

Bipolar disorder: A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

Bipolar II disorder:  A type of bipolar disorder characterized by depressive and hypomanic episodes.

Postpartum depression: Depression that occurs after childbirth.

Depression Treatments

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aims to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Learn More About Depression During Pregnancy PDF

Depression Statistics

One of the most prevalent mental diseases in the US is significant depression. Some people with severe depression may experience substantial impairments that impede or restrict their capacity to engage in meaningful life activities.

21 million

An estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 8.4% of all U.S. adults.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of major depressive episodes was higher among adult females (10.5%) than males (6.2%).

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of adults with a major depressive episode was highest among individuals aged 18-25 (17.0%).

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

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Depression in early pregnancy, also known as first-trimester depression, is a significant concern that requires attention and support.
Depression in early pregnancy, also known as first-trimester depression, is a significant concern that requires attention and support.

Depression In Early Pregnancy

Depression in the first three months of pregnancy, also called “first-trimester depression,” is a big problem that needs help and attention. Depression is often linked to the later stages of pregnancy, but it can also happen in the first few months. Some important things to know about sadness in the first few months of pregnancy:

  • How Common: Around 10-20% of pregnant women experience early pregnancy depression. It’s essential to recognize and address this issue.
  • Hormonal Changes: Hormones like estrogen and progesterone may mess with brain signals and lead to mood troubles during early pregnancy.
  • Emotional and Physical Shifts: Early pregnancy brings significant changes, like nausea and fatigue, which can affect mood and raise depression risk.
  • Anxiety and Fears: Anxiety about the baby’s health, becoming a parent, and life changes can also contribute to early pregnancy depression.
  • Personal and Social Factors: Things like a history of depression, lack of support, life stress, or past pregnancy loss can increase the risk of early pregnancy depression.
  • Impact on Pregnancy: Untreated early pregnancy depression can harm both the mom and baby, leading to issues like preterm birth or low birth weight.
  • Seek Help: If you or someone you know experiences early pregnancy depression symptoms, reach out to healthcare providers and support networks. Early help can lead to a healthier pregnancy for both mother and baby.

How Does Depression Affect Pregnancy?

Experiencing depression during pregnancy can impact your well-being in several ways:

  • Self-care interference: Depression may hinder your ability to care for yourself properly. You might find it challenging to follow medical recommendations, maintain a healthy diet, and get adequate sleep, putting your well-being at risk.
  • Higher risk of substance use: Depression can increase the likelihood of turning to harmful substances like tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs, which can negatively affect your pregnancy.
  • Bonding difficulties: When you’re depressed during pregnancy, it might be more challenging to establish an emotional connection with your growing baby. This connection is vital for both you and the baby, as the fetus can hear your voice and sense your emotions.

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What Are My Options for Managing Depression During Pregnancy?

If you’re dealing with depression during pregnancy, prioritize your well-being by taking these steps:

  • Simplify your tasks: Reduce your daily responsibilities and focus on activities that promote relaxation. Remember that self-care is crucial for both your health and your baby’s development.
  • Open up: Talk to your friends, family, and partner about your concerns. Seeking support often leads to receiving the help you need.
  • Seek professional guidance: If your anxiety and depression persist despite making lifestyle changes, consult your healthcare provider or ask for a referral to a mental health professional.

Are Antidepressant Medications During Pregnancy Effective?

New evidence shows that many commonly used antidepressants are safe for treating depression during pregnancy, especially when it comes to short-term effects on the baby. The long-term effects, on the other hand, have been studied less.

Depression In Pregnancy Treatment

Treating depression during pregnancy requires a comprehensive approach that prioritizes the well-being of both the mother and the developing baby. Consulting with healthcare professionals to develop an individualized treatment plan is essential. Here are some standard treatment options for depression in pregnancy:

  • Therapy: Talk therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT), can be effective in helping pregnant women manage depression. These therapies focus on identifying negative thought patterns, improving coping skills, and enhancing overall emotional well-being.
  • Support groups: Joining support groups specifically tailored for pregnant women with depression can provide a safe space for sharing experiences, gaining support, and learning coping strategies from others who are going through similar challenges.
Treating depression during pregnancy requires a comprehensive approach that prioritizes the well-being of both the mother and the developing baby.
Treating depression during pregnancy requires a comprehensive approach that prioritizes the well-being of both the mother and the developing baby.
  • Lifestyle changes: Incorporating healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep, can positively impact mood and overall well-being during pregnancy. Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation can also be beneficial.
  • Social support: Building a strong support network of family, friends, and loved ones who can provide emotional support and practical assistance can be crucial in managing depression during pregnancy.
  • Medication: Sometimes, healthcare providers prescribe antidepressant medication after carefully assessing the risks and benefits. They will consider the specific antidepressant medicines safe during pregnancy and closely monitor their effects.
  • Alternative therapies: Some women may find complementary and alternative therapies helpful in managing depression during pregnancy, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, acupuncture, or relaxation techniques.
  • Close monitoring: Regular prenatal visits with healthcare professionals are essential to monitor the pregnancy’s progress and the mother’s mental health. The treatment plan can be adjusted based on the individual’s response.

It is crucial to remember that treatment decisions should be made in consultation with healthcare providers specializing in mental health during pregnancy. The chosen treatment approach will depend on the severity of the depression, the overall health of the mother and baby, and the risks and benefits associated with each treatment option.

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We Level Up Fort Lauderdale Florida Depression Center

At our depression center, We Level Up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, we provide comprehensive, evidence-based services to care for and support individuals dealing with depression effectively. Our services encompass the following:

  • Diagnostic Assessment: Thorough evaluations and assessments are conducted to accurately diagnose and understand the type and severity of depression in individuals seeking help.
  • Individual Therapy: Qualified professionals trained in various therapeutic approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, or interpersonal therapy, provide personalized one-on-one therapy sessions to address the underlying causes and symptoms of depression.
  • Medication Management: Collaborative efforts with psychiatrists or medical professionals ensure effective medication management, including prescribing, monitoring, and adjusting antidepressant medications as needed.
  • Group Therapy: We offer specially designed group therapy sessions that foster a supportive and empathetic environment for individuals with depression to share experiences, gain insights, and receive support from peers who comprehend their challenges.
  • Psychoeducation: Educational resources and information about depression, including its symptoms, causes, and available treatment options, are provided to enhance understanding and develop effective strategies for managing depression.
  • Coping Skills Training: Assistance is offered to develop and strengthen coping mechanisms for managing depressive symptoms, incorporating stress reduction techniques, problem-solving skills, and effective communication strategies.
  • Lifestyle Changes: We provide guidance and support for adopting healthier lifestyle choices that positively impact mental well-being, encompassing exercise, nutrition, sleep hygiene, and stress management techniques.
  • Supportive Environment: Our center strives to create a safe, non-judgmental, and compassionate space where individuals with depression feel understood and supported throughout their treatment journey, fostering a sense of community and peer support.
  • Relapse Prevention: Strategies and support are provided to prevent relapses and effectively manage recurring depressive episodes, including the development of personalized relapse prevention plans, identification of triggers, and building resilience.
  1. Are Depression And Pregnancy Correlated?

    Yes, there is a correlation between depression and pregnancy. Pregnancy does not cause depression, but hormonal changes, physical discomfort, emotional adjustments, and the stress of pregnancy can increase the risk of developing depression during this time. It’s important to note that not all pregnant women experience depression, but the correlation highlights the need for awareness and support for those who do.

  2. Is Being Depressed During Pregnancy Dangerous?

    While depression during pregnancy can be challenging, it is essential to address and manage it. Untreated depression can have potential risks for both the mother and the baby. It may affect prenatal care, increase the likelihood of substance abuse, impact the mother’s ability to bond with the baby, and potentially lead to postpartum depression. Seeking help and appropriate treatment is crucial to minimize these risks.

  3. Can Pregnancy Cause Depression?

    Pregnancy itself does not directly cause depression. However, the physical and emotional changes during pregnancy can contribute to depression in some women. Hormonal fluctuations, lifestyle adjustments, pre-existing mental health conditions, and personal or social factors can all influence the onset of depression during pregnancy.

  4. What Can I Do If I’m Feeling Depressed During Pregnancy?

    If you are depressed during pregnancy, seeking help and support from your family, friends, and healthcare professionals is essential.

Tips for Maintaining Your Mental Well-being

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Search We Level Up FL Depression During Pregnancy Resources
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Depression Among Women of Reproductive Age and Postpartum Depression (http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/Depression/).
  2. American Pregnancy Association. Depression During Pregnancy (http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/depression-during-pregnancy).
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Obstetric Practice. Committee Opinion No. 630: Screening for perinatal depression. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2015;125:1268.
  4. O’Connor E, et al. Primary care screening for and treatment of depression in pregnant and postpartum women. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2016;315:388.
  5. Grigoriadias S. Mild to moderate antenatal unipolar depression: Treatment. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 5, 2019.
  6. Grigoriadias S. Unipolar major depression during pregnancy: Epidemiology, clinical features, assessment, and diagnosis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search.
  7. Biaggi A, et al. Identifying the women at risk of antenatal anxiety and depression: A systematic review. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2016;191:62.