Prenatal depression

Prenatal depression

Prenatal depression

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An estimated 10 to 20% of women struggle with major depression before, during and after delivery of a baby. It is important that pregnant women should be aware of the possible consequences of this depression and how to get help.


Prenatal depression is experienced during pregnancy and can have a negative impact on good prenatal care, particularly in the areas of nutrition, sleep habits and exercise.

Studies have found depression in pregnancy to be surprisingly common ƒ{ around 10% of all pregnant women experience it. Experts are finally realising that prenatal depression is a valid condition that deserves attention.

Prenatal depression is considered serious, because it will influence the way in which a mother responds to her baby’s sounds and gestures, which may have a negative impact on the baby’s development.

If you are struggling with feelings of depression during your pregnancy or after the birth of your baby (called post-natal depression), do not be ashamed to seek help. Even if you are not sure but you think that you may be feeling depressed, it will be in your and your baby¡¦s interest to explore these feelings.


How can you know if the feelings that you have are signs of depression? Sometimes feeling down is a normal pregnancy feeling ƒ{ especially if you are dealing with a lot of morning sickness and fatigue in the first trimester. However, persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness are not normal to pregnancy. All women feel a little anxious about bringing a new baby into the world (even when their pregnancy was planned and hoped for). But if you find yourself battling to get out of bed in the morning, or if you are having hopeless, sad feelings most of the time, you may want to seek help.

How to get help

It is important to realise that depression during pregnancy does not mean that you are a bad mother or a bad person. Find someone you can talk to ¡V it may be your doctor, husband, partner or a trusted friend. If you talk to someone close to you and he or she doesn’t understand or seem to brush you off, find another person you can talk to. People do not mean to be cruel, but sometimes they do regard prenatal depression as merely “pregnancy hormones”.


Speaking to someone that you trust is often a first step in pregnancy depression treatment. Other steps that you can take include ensuring that your pregnancy diet is healthy and that you are getting enough exercise. Even though it may be hard to motivate yourself to take these simple steps, they will greatly benefit you (and your baby).

If you need more help, then do not hesitate to seek counselling. Your normal care provider may be able to assist you or you can be referred to someone who can help. Together with your care provider, you can also explore medication, herbal or other alternative therapy options.

Our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day if you want to know more about prenatal depression. Call us on our EWP number or email us at
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