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  Antenatal depression
 
I have suffered from depression in the past and now that I am pregnant I feel awful. Could the pregnancy have brought on a bout of depression?

Pregnancy is a time of huge change and upheaval. You are reassessing your role in life and coming to terms with a new way of living. Change can be difficult at the best of times, and it is not easy to learn to view yourself and your life in a completely new way. For many women this leads to emotions which are overwhelming. This time of life which many people assume will be joyous, can in reality be filled with fear and anxiety. This seems to be especially true for women who have a previous history of depression. It is therefore vital to try and be aware of your state of mind and to seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed. You do not have to face this on your own, and sometimes the smallest amount of help is all that is required to put you back on your feet. A sympathetic and non- judgemental ear can be enormously helpful, and a trained professional is the best person to guide you back to a balanced state of mind. Many women feel embarrassed and ashamed of their perceived weakness. But in fact it takes great strength to face up to what is happening, and you will feel proud of yourself for handling the situation when things improve.

The problem with depression is that it can feel like a hole from which there is no escape. Still you need to know that thoughts in which you are very hard on yourself (eg ‘ I am so pathetic’) especially coupled with extreme fatigue, and lack of any pleasure in your life, are signs that you need to seek help. Feeling down for large portions of the day, struggling to sleep and extreme weight swings, are also signs that all is not well.

Speak to your doctor or health care worker urgently. Also go to www.pndsa.org.za for ideas about where to get help.

See related articles:

Reason for Antenatal classes

Choosing Antenatal classes


 
   
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