How To Know If You're Depressed Or Just Suffering From Normal Pregnancy Symptoms

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Are You Experiencing Normal Pregnancy Symptoms – Or Depression?
Family, Self

Pregnancy brings a lot of things to women.

You are an expecting mom.

On some days, you feel glorious and go about your daily activities with a smile on your face. Other days, you just sit in bed after waking up, look at your belly, and let out a deep sigh after picturing yourself going through all these things you have to accomplish during the day.  

And then, there could even be those days when you just break down in the middle of putting on a shirt that is now a tad snug and cry.  

Pregnancy brings a lot of things to women. One of these is a higher level of worrying. While a certain degree of anxiety is normal and expected from pregnant women, medical experts suggest getting help when this gets in the way of your normal routine.

What is depression?

Everybody will feel sad and hopeless at certain points in their lives. Have you ever seen the movie Inside Out? Sadness is a feeling that is inside of us. It is part of us and even makes some experiences more meaningful. 

While it is only normal to feel sad, the condition can be quite alarming when being sad lasts for weeks or months. It might be time to seek medical help when depression results to a person doing harmful things.  

Depression is a mood disorder. It affects how you feel, act, and think in a very negative way and result in emotional and physical problems that can affect a person’s activities and relationships.

Symptoms of depression include feeling worthless, fatigue, loss of interest in favored activities, changes in appetite, sleeping problems, increase in some purposeless physical activity like pacing, and difficulty in making decisions or concentrating.  

RELATED: 8 Subtle, Often Ignored Signs You're Actually Depressed

Medical experts conclude that a person is suffering from depression when symptoms last for at least two weeks.  

What is the relation between pregnancy and depression?

Pregnant women are likely "candidates" for depression because of the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.  

About 14-23 percent of women will deal with some sign of depression during their pregnancy. The key is in identifying that the soon-to-be mother is actually experiencing depression in order to get treatment right away.

Depression can be detrimental to the well-being of the mother-to-be and the development of the baby.

Watch Good Morning America host Sarah Haines discuss her own trouble with depression during her pregnancy on The View.

What are some reasons for prenatal depression?

There are several ways — external and internal — that a pregnant woman can become depressed.

A difficult pregnancy is one source of anxiety for expecting mothers. For some reason, there are women who go through all the unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy — nausea, dizziness, morning sickness, back pain, you name it, they have it.

Pregnancy hormones are in high gear when you are pregnant and these can influence your emotions and moods. Do you remember feeling out of sorts whenever you have your menstrual cycle? Pregnancy hormones work the same way because these are the same hormones that act up during when you have PMS.

Genetics can also be a reason for depression when you are pregnant. When someone in your family has a history of depression, it is best to inform your OB so that you can be monitored for the same.

Stress is another common trigger for prenatal depression. There are a lot of things that can get a pregnant woman stressed. Whether you are working expecting mommy or a stay-at-home-soon-to-be-parent, you can experience stressful situations.

RELATED: 9 Ways To Manage Stress When You're Feeling Totally Crazy And Out Of Control

How do you deal with the stress of pregnancy symptoms similar to depression?

Through the years, expecting mothers and medical experts have found ways to deal with stress so that both mom and baby can have a worry-free pregnancy.

Anxiety can cause so many negative things during a pregnancy, both for mother and baby. It is best to look into ways of de-stressing as these can help make Mommy feel less anxious.  

Here are 5 ways to manage stress:

1. Do yoga

Yoga is on the top of the list. Research shows that certain yoga poses can be beneficial to pregnant women as these can help them relax and feel less overwhelmed.

Yoga instructors suggest yoga poses that are simple and focus more on relaxation and breathing than those that are geared to losing weight or toning the body.

2. Get busy with hobbies.

Engaging in hobbies can make Mom feel normal, despite the growing bump in her tummy.

Go through your hobby list. If you have several favorite activities, choose ones that do not require a lot of physical effort on your part.  

3. Get support

There are other pregnant women out there who are probably feeling the same way you do. Ask your OB for any groups that you can join.  

There are also yoga centers that offer prenatal yoga sessions where you can meet other expecting moms.  

4. Have some "Mommy" time.

Meet some friends for lunch or dinner. Invite some friends over for lunch or dinner. Get a bubble bath. Set aside a time to pamper yourself because you need it.  

Even if it’s as simple as getting comfy on the sofa to watch your favorite movie or settling in bed to read your favorite author’s new book, "me time" is very important during pregnancy, and even after.

5. Spend some quality time with your partner or your baby (or both).

You shouldn’t go through the pregnancy feeling like you are alone. Tell your partner how you feel.

Also, remember that there is another person inside of you. Talking to your baby can fill you with so much warmth that it can shoo the sadness away. Besides, this is a great way to bond with your loved ones. 

Donna Begg is an expert editor, a mentor, analyst, and a researcher.

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