It is normal to see mood swings and aggressive behavior during pregnancy but sometimes it becomes so intense that the mother actually gets into a depression. The reason behind these changes is the hormones that pretty much change when a woman is pregnant.
The depression during pregnancy, called perinatal depression may vary among women. It commonly shows up as a worthless feeling, misery, irritability and unexplained sadness. It not treated; it may take months to recover on its own.
Unfortunately, it is not diagnosed and considered serious in most of the women. That makes perinatal depression a threat to public health, as the research explains.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests that women at risk of perinatal depression should require behavioral counseling to treat it. This highly recommended counseling method is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and are available to view online.
Which therapy works best for perinatal depression?
To understand which therapy brings the best effects, the researchers reviewed 50 previous studies that studied different treatments of perinatal depression. These treatments included physical activity, educating options, diet control, medication, and one to one counseling.
The best treatment that worked for most of the women were cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy in prevention of perinatal depression. It helped to get over the mood swings in nearly 39% of the women.
During the pregnancy, an interpersonal therapy identifies the factors that may be influencing the pregnant mother’s mood. The counselor works on these psychological and biological factors and try to boost her patient’s mood.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the best forms of psychotherapy that aids in manipulating an individual’s thought. For perinatal depression, a CBT therapist typically helps to identify the thoughts of a person and then develops strategies to combat these problematic thoughts.
Treatment varies for every woman
The treatment for perinatal depression may be different for everyone. It is necessary to open up with your doctor so that a tailored treatment may be prescribed to them. Typically, psychotherapy works well for mild to moderate symptoms but often times other things like diet and lifestyle changes may also be added.
For severe symptoms, a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication works best. Additionally, the support systems, diet, exercise and lifestyle changes also contribute to the treatment.
Who is at highest risk?
Perinatal depression may become a complication during a pregnancy but there is no screening tool to diagnose it. That is why often times the patients are not identified or treated. Those who had depression previously or a family history of depression are at a greater risk of perinatal depression. More research is needed to identify women who are at a higher risk of perinatal depression.
Understanding the factors for perinatal depression, it is easy to make a prevention plan. If not treated, it may negatively impact the life of the baby and the mother. Sometimes the chronic depression causes to increase the risk of premature birth, having a low birth weight and other developmental problems in babies.
Look for the warning signs
The most common signs of the perinatal depression include sleeping for long hours, crying without a reason, hopelessness or restless feeling. The onset of symptoms is broad and they vary in each woman.
If you notice these symptoms, feel free to ask for help from your nearest healthcare centers. Remember all women are susceptible to perinatal depression and it is not something that is not treatable.
The new mothers should look for the warning signs. If they suspect themselves having depression, reach out to the support system or book an appointment with an OB/GYN to start its treatment.