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Depression during pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you have signs of depression. If you're depressed, it could affect your baby's health.

Many women feel depressed, a bit down or blue after they give birth. But depression can occur during pregnancy as well. This may make it more difficult for a woman to take care of herself. For instance, according to the Office on Women's Health, depression during pregnancy can cause a woman to:

  • Eat poorly.
  • Not gain enough weight.
  • Have trouble sleeping.
  • Miss prenatal visits.
  • Not follow medical instructions.
  • Use harmful substances such as tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs.

Depression during pregnancy can raise the risk of:

  • Premature birth.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Problems during pregnancy or delivery.

According to the March of Dimes, a woman who is depressed feels sad or hopeless. She'll also have other symptoms that last two weeks or longer. These other symptoms include:

  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Lack of interest.
  • Feelings of guilt.
  • Loss of energy.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Restlessness, anxiety or slowed movement.
  • Thoughts about suicide.

Note: Other conditions besides depression can cause some of the above symptoms. It's important to talk with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

reviewed 8/6/2019

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