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Depression affects millions of pregnant and postpartum women each year, regardless of race, ethnic background, color, or social standing. Recently, controversy over the treatment of these women has come into the forefront but most professionals will admit that the mental illnesses that present themselves during and after pregnancy deserve immediate attention.|
Though women are thought to “glow” and be full of maternal instincts during pregnancy, the fact is that many, many pregnant women suffer from both anxiety and depression. This could be caused by a number of factors including a history of depression, fear of childbirth, financial woes, marital difficulties, and many more.
Therapy for pregnant women will largely depend on the severity of the disorder itself. Some therapists may prefer using standard cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat depression. Often times, the woman needs to verbally address her fears or challenges to a counselor or therapist and together, the two can find answers to help create peace of mind.
In many instances, however, severe depression during pregnancy requires drug intervention. In that case, the risks to the fetus must be weighed against the risks of not treating the depression and a decision should be made accordingly. A number of anti-depressants have been approved for use during pregnancy.
Postpartum depression is a serious illness and should be considered as such. This disorder results in symptoms such as irritability, tearfulness, anxiety, sleep and eating disturbances, the inability to bond with the newborn child or, in extreme cases, the desire to hurt the child or injure or kill oneself. When this form of depression is considered severe, anti-depressants are almost always in order, coupled with standard psychotherapy. The father or supportive partner may be involved in the therapy as well.
It’s essential to seek proper therapy for pregnant/postpartum women, as more than one life is at stake when depression becomes a prevailing part of a pregnancy or post-pregnancy period. If the individuals who are close to the pregnant woman notice drastic changes in mood, appetite, or stress level, they should encourage the pregnant/postpartum woman to seek help immediately.
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