Pregnancy Related DepressionPregnancy can be a cheerful time, but not always, and not for every woman. At least 10 percent of pregnant
women suffer from bouts of depression. But healthcare professionals often misdiagnose or disregard
depression in pregnant women because they're conditioned to believe that this is a time of joy.
Consequently, people are apt to gloss over any sadness or depression, chalking it up to the usual
moodiness that comes with pregnancy. Unfortunately, if overlooked, depression during pregnancy
can be dangerous, because it may hamper a mom's ability to care for herself and her developing baby.
Signs of depression
You may be suffering from depression if you feel some of the following symptoms:
• Inability to concentrate
• Extreme irritability
• Sleep problems
• Extreme or unending fatigue
• A desire to eat all the time or not wanting to eat at all
• A sense that nothing feels enjoyable or fun anymore
• Persistent sadness
What causes it
Sometimes, pregnancy hormones — which are raging as your body prepares for its nine-month
odyssey — are to blame. While hormonal ups and downs affect all pregnant women, some feel the
swings more intensely. You may also want to examine the state of your personal relationships. If
you aren't getting along well with your partner (a major cause of depression), be on guard.
• Family or personal history of depression
If depression runs in your family, or if you have had past bouts yourself, you may be more likely to
become depressed now that you're expecting.
• Stressful life events
Are you moving to a bigger home in anticipation of your baby's arrival? Are you having trouble at
work? Any major life change such as a move, divorce, or job loss, or the death of a close friend or
family member, can send you into a serious funk.
• Problems with the pregnancy
A troubled pregnancy — for instance, one that requires weeks of bedrest or numerous genetic tests —
can take its emotional toll.
• Infertility or previous pregnancy loss
If you experienced many difficulties trying to get pregnant, or have miscarried in the past, you may find
yourself worrying about the safety of this pregnancy.
• Past history of abuse
Pregnancy can trigger painful memories in women who have survived emotional, sexual, physical,
or verbal abuse. Your body is changing beyond your control, which can bring up long buried issues
and baggage. Your loss of control over your changing body may mirror the loss of control you felt
when you were being abused.
How you can cope
• Take it easy. Resist the urge to pack in as many chores as you can before the baby comes.
Read a book, have breakfast in bed, or go for a nice long walk around the neighborhood. Choose
something that makes you feel good. Taking care of yourself is an essential part of taking care of your baby.
• Talk it out. Air out your fears and worries about the future with your friends. Keep the lines of
communication between you and your spouse free and clear, too. You need his support, which
he can only give if you're open with him.
• Consider therapy. If you've tried everything to snap yourself out of a low spell for two weeks but
nothing seems to work, call a professional. Psychotherapy can work wonders for pregnant women
suffering from depression. You may also benefit from antidepressants — some of which are safe for
pregnant women. Ask the local imam in your community to refer you to a Muslim psychologists or
therapistl. Do your homework and interview a few counselors before you pick one. You need to
find someone you can feel safe with, and whom you trust.
When to worry
If you're suicidal or feeling disoriented and unable to handle your daily responsibilities, or if
you're having panic attacks, seek help immediately and don't despair of Allah's mercy. Remember
to call on Allah in dua and make extra supplications (see link for dua's to recite) during your times of distress.
Fifty percent of women suffering from depression during pregnancy go on to develop postpartum
depression but therapy during pregnancy can reduce that number dramatically.
In addition, building a support network now — made up of friends, family members, your partner,
doctor, or therapist — means your helpers will already be in place when the baby is born. Early
treatment is important, she says, because "once the baby's here, it'll be even harder to get the help you need."
"Verily with the Remembrance of Allah do Hearts Find Ease"