Family, Self

How To Deal With Depression During Pregnancy, Without Drugs Or Harsh Treatments

Photo: getty
A Safe And Integrative Approach To Depression During Pregnancy

How is it possible that the fairytale pregnancy of the mainstream media can become the darkest moment of your life?

It is possible because life is not a fairy tale. And it is possible because at conception you are thrown into a hormonally charged vortex of incessant biophysical and biochemical reactions from which a new life will emerge forever changing your life in ways you cannot fathom.

While modern science has gifted us with the ability to describe and monitor every minute of gestation, it tells us next to nothing about how it affects us on a deeper level. When depression comes with pregnancy, it behooves us to consider this deeper level.

You may feel alone while unrestrained expanding darkness can act like quicksand pulling you farther from loved ones to a place void of light, love, touch, sound, or air. The reality is you are not alone. You are among thousands.

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

Up to 10 percent of women suffer from depression during pregnancy. This depression may manifest as fatigue, despondency, misery, difficulty concentrating, intense grief, or fear, among other ways. These symptoms are known to be more common during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy.

You are more likely to experience them if you have a family or personal history of depression, sexual abuse, or substance abuse. You are also more likely to experience them if your diet is nutritionally deficient, if you are dehydrated, or if you are experiencing a challenging situation in which to carry, birth, or raise the child.

Once you are in the throes of depression, it is not so easy to reach out for help. But you must reach out. Chances are, you will not need to reach far. There are healthcare practitioners trained to support depression in pregnancy, including with natural remedies for depression. 

The key to treating depression during pregnancy is to respect the vortex, the indomitable conflux of personal and family history, hormones, budding life, nutrition, and present circumstances.

This is a complex situation at best. If you have a midwife, she is likely well-placed to identify signs that you need help.

Psychotherapy can be effective in addressing the echo of trauma preceding the pregnancy. Nutritional guidance can be effective in ensuring that nutrition and hydration needs are met. This leaves the darker side of the hormonal tsunami to tame.

Within conventional medicine, anti-depressants are only judiciously prescribed given the known side effects. Homeopathy, however, offers a safe, economical, and potentially highly effective alternative.

Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine which takes into account the mind, body, and emotions to provide an individualized prescription for a medicine recognized for its safety even during pregnancy.  

RELATED: The Terrifying Reality Of Going Off Depression Meds To Have A Baby

By way of example of how homeopathy considers the vortex, here are three common remedies which a homeopath might consider for depression during pregnancy:

1. Pulsatilla

This is more commonly indicated during the last trimester of pregnancy. After months of pregnancy, emotions begin to fray. Tears burst forth with no rhyme or reason.

Fear of what the future will bring consumes her. Hands grasp loved ones and health care providers begging for assurance that all will be well. If reassurance is not sufficiently convincing, a peevish diatribe ensues, until tears burst forth again. There is little thirst and may be cravings for creamy foods.

2. Sepia

This is indicated when the mother figuratively spits venom at loved ones who have dared approach her. She is averse to touch. She is a seething volcano of resentment, threatening herself and her partner.

What underlies this passion is the feeling of despair as she grapples in vain to reconcile her true feeling with the fact. She does not want to have her child. But, pregnant she is. Her conscience suggests simultaneously that she is not ready or able for whatever reason to welcome her child while also forbidding any thought of abortion.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, her and her child’s futures are bleak at best. When this state of mind persists, it can carry forward to threaten the post-partum bonding of mother and child. She is better when keeping active and may crave lemon.

3. Ignatia

This comes to mind when a woman presents with an emotionally charged history of infertility or sequential miscarriages. She has become obsessed with the desire to experience pregnancy and motherhood, an experience she creatively and defensively beholds as ecstatic.

Once she becomes pregnant, however, she plummets into despair: What if she loses the baby? She is faced with the pervasive fear of losing the baby, grasping banisters and popping prenatal vitamins that line the counter-top.  

To top this off, the irony of life lashes back and she gasps with doubt: What if she was wrong she is not suited to motherhood after all? As so she flip-flops in emotional turmoil. She may sigh frequently and be particularly sensitive to smells.

There are several other remedies known to be indicated and helpful for depression during pregnancy. Some of those are Cocculus, Gelsemium, Nux-vomica, Zinc, and Lachesis, to name a few.

My desktop reference for supporting women experiencing depression during pregnancy is Sandra  J. Perko’s Homeopathy for the Modern Pregnant Woman and Her Infant – A Therapeutic Practice Guidebook for Midwives, Physicians, and Practitioners. It is a fabulously researched and organized reference. There are many other resources available online, too.

Online searches for indications for homeopathic medicines can be confusing at best for those not trained in homeopathy: How do you select the right from so many? It is not easy, indeed, much less when you are depressed.

While homeopathic principles can be taught and understood and homeopathy is used worldwide in homes every day, it may be wise to seek professional help in the case of depression during pregnancy. Certainly, I am glad I did!

Sepia, mentioned above, turned me around within a day. You see, the fog of depression threatens and sometimes even negates that ability to clearly diagnose or dose accurately. It is worth it to reach out, to get the help you need, from a midwife, psychologist, nutritionist, homeopath, and from whoever is able to help you.

Joining the 90 percent of women who do not experience depression during pregnancy is worth the effort. Both you and your child are worth it.

RELATED: Why Having Postnatal Depression Actually Made Me A Better Mom

Lisa Torres is a homeopath, dedicated to helping people heal safely, gently, deeply, taking into account the mind, the body, and the emotions.

YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article.