Healthy Living

Depression During Pregnancy Leads Women to Suicidal Thoughts

Many women who feel depressed during pregnancy have suicidal thoughts, reveals a survey conducted by Royal College of Midwives and Netmums.

14 to 23 percent of women will have some symptoms of depression during pregnancy, says a report from The American Psychiatric Association and The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Symptoms like change in sleeping or eating habits, frequent mood changes, anxiety, thoughts of helplessness and suicide, difficulty in concentrating and excessive or too little sleep that last for more than two weeks can be signs of depression during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

"Depression and anxiety can be common in pregnancy, sometimes making life very difficult for both the parents and new baby. Midwives can do a lot to help and reassure, so should be open with mothers and fathers-to-be about the condition and trained to spot the signs," said Sally Russell, co-founder of Netmums.

The survey included 260 mothers who had suffered with depression in pregnancy, They found that problems associated with women experiencing depression during pregnancy were significantly worse than those who dealt with post-partum depression.

"Those suffering often don't know who to talk to, so it's essential they know they can be open and honest about how they are feeling with midwives," said Russell.

Pregnancy related depression seemed to increase during second and third pregnancy. About 38 percent of the women surveyed had suicidal thoughts and wanted to kill themselves either during or after pregnancy.

"This survey shows that there is an urgent need to identify and help women with depression in pregnancy and after the birth of their baby.  If we can identify women as early as possible then we could prevent them declining into much more serious mental health problems," said Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, exercise, proper diet, sleep, omega-3 supplements and certain herbal remedies can help women cope with depression during pregnancy.

According to a related study, pregnant women who have low-income, living in rural areas are more likely to develop depression during pregnancy as they feel isolated and with fewer resources.

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