Depression and pregnancy

A new poll has found that almost a third of pregnant women are suffering strong feelings of anxiety and depression.

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The survey found many women struggle during pregnancy and are dealing with symptoms of antenatal depression, yet are too afraid to consult a doctor.

It was found that nearly 30 per cent of pregnant women are frequently experiencing over five symptoms of the condition, while NHS data suggests only 15 per cent of women suffer depression during pregnancy.

The concerning indicators that the women are experiencing include feeling unhappy, wanting to cry, feeling anxious and losing interest in regular activities.

It is estimated if the poll results were extrapolated across all pregnancies, almost 250,000 women in the UK would suffer from antenatal depression every year.

The BabyCentre poll consisting of 1,000 mothers and pregnant women, found that 42 per cent had never consulted their midwife or doctor about their symptoms. The top three reasons for the silence were guilt, embarrassment or worry of being judged.

Nearly 50 per cent were afraid of being labelled as mentally ill, and a quarter of women hadn’t discussed it among friends, family or even their partner.

International managing editor of BabyCentre, Sasha Miller said, “Our study paints a stark picture of the alternative face of pregnancy – it’s not all baby showers, blossoming bumps and baby moons.”

“Women feel under pressure to act like they are having a perfect pregnancy but the reality is very different for huge numbers of mums-to-be.”

Many expectant mothers find it hard to admit they are suffering from symptoms due to the stigma attached to the condition. As a result of the shame and fear they feel, women are not seeking the support they need.

Research has found that when asked about their biggest worry regarding pregnancy and having a new responsibility, developing postnatal depression was the main concern of women suffering antenatal depression.

This concern came ahead of finance worries or even the baby’s health.

Miller believes things need to change. Women need to seek the help and support they need and the stigma around depression needs to be lifted.

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Written by Ellen Lees
Head of Content.
Written by Ellen Lees
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