It is common to become depressed during pregnancy or when you have just become a parent. For some, depression becomes a depression. Then you feel bad for a long time. There is a treatment to help with depression. The earlier you seek help, the faster you can feel better.
It is not only you who are or have been pregnant that can get depressed. You who are co-parent or adoptive parents can also become depressed. Often parents affect each other.
For a few, depression can turn into a psychosis, so it is important to seek immediate care.
The difference between common problems and depression
During pregnancy or when you are a new parent, it is very common to become depressed, get mood swings, feel anxious and be very tired. You may also wonder if you could harm your child. It doesn’t have to mean you have depression.
It is common for those who have been pregnant to be put down two to three days after the baby is born. It is usually called baby blues. It usually goes away within two weeks.
In the event of depression, you are jammed almost every day for more than two weeks.
If you have depression, you may recognize one or more of the following statements:
- You feel down most of the time. You may have difficulty feeling joy. Things you previously thought about doing are no longer fun.
- You have trouble sleeping and are very tired, without energy and have difficulty concentrating.
- You have feelings of guilt and feelings of hopelessness. You feel useless.
- The mood changes. You feel anxiety, strong anxiety or panic.
- You gain weight or lose weight, have difficulty eating or eating small all the time.
- You may not be able to take care of your hygiene and may also have difficulty managing the child.
- It is hard to meet friends and relatives.
- You have thoughts of hurting yourself or the child.
The symptoms can be different from person to person.
When and where should I seek care?
Seek care at a health care center, midwife or bvc if you think you have depression.
How can I prevent it?
When you are going to have or have had children, it can be good to plan for a lot of peace and quiet.
For some, visiting relatives can be a great help. For others, visiting involves stress. Think about what works best for you and talk about how you want it.
It can be extra important to plan for a quiet first time with the child if you previously felt poorly mentally. You may need preventative call therapy.
It may be easier to get depression if you have experienced a laborious or complicated birth. Then it can be good to talk through it properly together with a midwife or doctor in the hospital where the baby was born.
What can I do myself when I’m feeling ill?
There are things you can do yourself that can help. Here are some tips:
- Ask for help with practical chores.
- Have a set routine. Take care of yourself in the same way as usual, for example by washing your hair and other simple things you usually do in normal cases.
- Exercise and get fresh air.
- Try sleeping a little extra. Be sure to sleep when the baby is asleep.
- Eat well.
- Spend time with people you trust.
- Thank you for not feeling well.
Treatment for depression during and after pregnancy
There is a good treatment for depression.
You may need to call therapy. Then you meet either a nurse, a doctor, a psychologist or a curator. You meet on several occasions and talk about what feels difficult. You can get help finding solutions. It can be good to get to the conversation without the child, if possible.
There are drugs that can help. Your doctor can help you with medicines that do not adversely affect your baby if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Often you will receive medicines in combination with talk therapy.
Form for you who have been pregnant
Six to eight weeks after childbirth, anyone who has given birth may fill out a form on bvc. The form is called the EPDS, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. The form is designed to find signs of depression in the newly redeemed. The test is available in some 20 languages. After the test, you get to talk to a nurse. It can be a good opportunity to address things that feel difficult. If you need more help, bvc can mediate contact with a psychologist or a doctor.
Form for those who have not been pregnant
You who have not been pregnant can seek care at a health care center. There you can fill in a so-called tax form. It contains various questions and response options and deals with how difficult you are in terms of, for example, depression, sleep, and concentration.
What happens in the body?
Depression can be due to things in the body, such as hormones or lack of sleep. It can also depend on other things. Here are examples of things that can make you more easily depressed:
- It was a difficult pregnancy, childbirth or adoption.
- It is difficult to feed the baby.
- You doubt your ability to care for the child.
- You didn’t want to have children from the beginning.
- You lack the support of close relatives.
- The child screams a lot and only sleeps for short periods.
- You have conflicts and difficulties that do not have to do with the child.
- You have experienced past mental health problems or trauma.
- You have a disorder of thyroid function.
Usually, there are several different things that cause you depression. Sometimes it is not possible to know what the depression is due to.
Depression can affect attachment to the child. It can be more difficult to take good care of the child if you are not receiving treatment. It can affect a child’s development.
Some people who have had a traumatic delivery or have previously had traumatic experiences may have post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. It is important to get help then. Treatment of PTSD can then also help against depression.
Sometimes a deep depression can turn into psychosis. A birth psychosis usually comes within a month of the baby being born.
A person who gets a birth psychosis can get delusions, hallucinate and get confused. One moment, the parent may seem normal. The next moment they can say strange things and be difficult to get in touch with.
A birth psychosis is a serious condition where there is a risk of the parent committing suicide or harming the child.
In the case of psychosis, the parent is not to be left alone but needs immediate care at an emergency room.
How have I affected afterward?
A depression usually resolves within six months. For some, it takes longer.
Some blame themselves after a depression. You may be grieving not having been able to feel any joy, having missed much during the first time with the child. Maybe you are wondering if the child has been injured. It can be difficult to tell anyone about the thoughts.
Then it is good to think ahead. Focus on how to do to feel better in the moment and in the future.