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Depression in Pregnancy

by Guest
Posted July 5 2010 03:16pm
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While pregnancy may be a happy time for women, it’s a myth that pregnant women do not become depressed. However, this myth can prevent women from talking about her feelings or from finding help for it because they are ashamed. Women should talk to their partner, doctor or midwife about this as soon as they sense it is happening to them.

If a pregnant woman says she is feeling down or depressed, it is important for her, and those around her, to pay attention. If these down feelings are combined with constant sadness or losing interest in the things she normally does, she is clearly showing some of the warning signs of depression. Studies show that about 15% of pregnant women experience major or moderate depression during pregnancy.

Keep in mind that if a woman has had a depression before becoming pregnant or has a relative who has faced a depression, she may be more prone to a serious depression during her pregnancy.

Mood swings, fatigue, and trouble eating and sleeping can be typical at certain times in many women's pregnancies. However, they are also signs of depression in pregnancy if they continue for longer than what is normally expected. Other signs of depression are:

  • Always feeling sad.
  • Feelings of despair, guilt and of being worthless.
  • Thinking often about death or suicide; not being able to concentrate or do the things she ordinarily does.
  • A change in eating habits more or less that than what is normally expected in pregnancy.
  • Not being able to sleep or wanting to sleep a lot.

Pregnant women who are depressed are more likely to slide into unhealthy practices, just when healthy practices are needed most. For example, women may skip their regular prenatal check-ups, or they may not eat well or rest enough or use substances such as tobacco or drugs. All of these can lead to having the baby too early or to the baby not being a healthy weight when born.

It is important for a pregnant woman to talk to her doctor or midwife about depressive feelings or signs. In many cases, it is helpful if her partner goes along to this appointment because he needs to be part of the treatment plan. She can sometimes treat minor depression by doing things like eating well, getting regular exercise, making sure she gets enough sleep and deals with her stress (through relaxation exercises, yoga, etc.). If her doctor thinks the depression is serious, medication may be prescribed. In such a case, she will want to discuss with her doctor and pharmacist all the side effects and implications for her mental health and the baby's development.

Many herbal products, including St. John's Wort, have not yet been studied carefully for their effects on pregnant women. Mom should not take any herbal products without first consulting with her doctor, pharmacist or the Motherisk Clinic.

About 25% of women who are depressed during their pregnancy will have what is called a "postpartum depression," which is a depression after the baby is born.

It’s normal for a woman to feel a little sad or anxious in the first two weeks after the baby is born. Everyone should pay attention and help during this period. If she has constant or signs and symptoms of depression, there is cause for concern. Both parents should speak to her doctor or midwife about this to determine how to treat the depressive symptoms. Depression is easier to treat if it is caught early before the With symptoms become deeply rooted.

If a mother is depressed during baby’s first year of life, it can make it difficult for her to become emotionally attached to baby and vice versa. Fathers and others need to ensure she gets the help she needs for her depression. Dads may also need to step in and help her relate to the baby in whatever way she can while she recovers. Dads also need to give extra loving care and stimulation to the baby to keep baby's development on track.

For more information on Depression in Pregnancy:

 

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What Are Some Common Worries of New Dads?

by Maxine
Posted August 1 2010 06:39pm
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During pregnancy, everyone’s attention tends to focus on the expectant mom. Not everyone remembers that becoming a new parent has an impact on expectant dads, too. As a matter of fact, many dads-to-be have the same worries and fears as moms. Research from Invest in Kids indicates that all parents, no matter their circumstances, feel vulnerable and isolated in their parenting role. Dads, however, are less likely to talk about feelings or share their worries with their partner or friends. So, if you’re a worried dad-to-be, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are answers to 10 common concerns that many expectant fathers have at one time or another during pregnancy.

  1. Will my baby be okay?
  2. Will my partner be okay?
  3. Will I be a good dad?
  4. Will I be able to support my partner and remain calm when it’s time to go to the hospital?
  5. What if I can’t make it through the labour and delivery?
  6. Will my partner ever get back to herself?
  7. Will my partner ever look like she did before she was pregnant?
  8. What about my friends? And going out every Wednesday night?
  9. Will we ever have sex again?
  10. Will we be able to afford our current standard of living?

1. Will my baby be okay?
About 97% of babies are born without any complications and in good health. While that’s pretty high, there is always that worry that something might go wrong. While we may laugh about how moms quickly count a baby’s toes and fingers right after birth, many dads do it too! And when a boy is born, both parents often check out the size of the penis and testicles. It’s all a part of reassuring yourselves that your baby has arrived—safe and sound after all.

2. Will my partner be okay?
Like many events in a person’s life, there are risks and untold benefits; pregnancy, labour and delivery are no exception. Many expectant dads are anxious that something will go terribly wrong—mom’s health could be at risk and she could even die. These are very scary thoughts but many expectant dads have them. Some of you will truly be tested watching what mom goes through. But remember, these days, most women do not experience extraordinary pain. Many moms are very willing to do it again in a few years to have a second baby.

3. Will I be a good dad?
Almost every first-time dad wonders what it will take to be a good dad. Some men worry because they had unsatisfactory relationships with their fathers. Others have high expectations for themselves and worry that they will never measure up. Whatever has you concerned, your first task is to give mom as much support as you can throughout the pregnancy, childbirth and the early days of motherhood. Secondly, you need to connect with your baby through the pregnancy, during the birth and after. This is how you become a good dad.

4. Will I be able to support my partner and remain calm when it’s time to go to the hospital?
Picture it—mom says, “It’s time.” Your heart jumps. You start rushing all over the place. You jump in the car and race to the hospital only to find you forgot mom at home. Okay, that may be an extreme example, but it is an anxious time for both of you. However, when preparing for the event, you may find that a lot of that anxiety will be gone by the time the big day arrives. You’ll know just what to do. You may still be excited, nervous or forgetful, but chances are you'll do fine. Learning about a stressful situation seems to take a lot of the worry out of it. As long as you prepare yourself for mom’s tap on your shoulder in the middle of the night, you’ll do fine.

5. What if I can’t make it through the labour and delivery?
As the due date approaches, you may be wondering if you will do something wrong in the delivery room or worse—faint or throw up? You may find that during the actual labour and delivery, you’re totally absorbed in mom and what she’s going through. Plus, you’ll be impatiently waiting to meet your new son or daughter. If you do happen to faint, throw up or stand in the wrong place, you’ll be just like many other dads. The hospital staff deals with this kind of reaction all the time. Plus, it’ll make a great story for your child.

6. Will my partner ever get back to herself?
Those pregnancy hormones can really take their toll on mom’s emotions. Some women seem to slip into the forbidden world of babies where no men are allowed. This can make the new dad wonder if he’ll ever say the right thing again or if he will ever be seen as anything but the breadwinner. Your life will find more balance, but lifelong changes will be taking place for both of you. Neither of you will ever be the same again, but that is not bad. In fact, it can open a whole new exciting world to both of you. The more the two of you work to maintain a healthy relationship, the more likely you are to enjoy your new life with your new baby.

7. Will my partner ever look like she did before she was pregnant?
The answer to this question is different for every couple. All women lose some weight and body mass after the birth. Most moms worry about this and make weight loss a priority during the first year after birth. Many women get very close to their original weight and size, but generally it takes a number of months. For some breastfeeding moms, this might not happen until breastfeeding ends. A lot of dads also gain some weight during the pregnancy so you may find yourself dealing with the same issues as mom. It is important that you do not intentionally make Mom feel worse because she doesn’t look the same. You could try working on this together. Take an exercise class together, change your eating habits or you could do what many couples do—enjoy your new bodies.

8. What about my friends? And going out every Wednesday night?
Many couples find that once children come along, their circle of friends changes. Many single friends drift away as your common interests change and you stop living so spontaneously. But it is important that you maintain some friends of your own. Who your friends are and how often you see them will depend on your new values, priorities and available time. Some men keep “Wednesday night with the boys” sacred. Always try to negotiate your new social life together. It’s important for you to accept that mom needs to stay connected with some of her friends, too, and you have to stay home with the baby. She must accept that you need this, as well. Believe it or not, giving this social time to each other helps you stay connected as a couple.

9. Will we ever have sex again?
Good question! Important question! The two of you will go through a lot of changes in your sexual intimacy as a result of pregnancy. The answer depends on both of you. Some dads are less attracted to pregnant women and some are more attracted. Sometimes, mom’s hormones increase her sexual interest, but sometimes they decrease it. After the birth, mom goes through a healing process—and the amount of time required is different for every woman. It’s doubtful that sex shortly after birth is going to happen—that would be quite painful for mom. Over the first few months of parenthood, all of mom’s and your energies and interests will probably be directed at the baby. Sometimes, because of the huge physical, social and emotional changes that have taken place, some couples require outside assistance to rekindle a sex life. Not to worry though—almost all couples have sex again, some better than ever.

10. Will we be able to afford our current standard of living?
If you’re like most people, both of you were working full time before the birth of your first child. Soon, you’ll be faced with a decreased income—and that’s a real worry, even if it’s only for a few months. It’s an even bigger concern if you’ve decided that one of you will stay home for a year or more. Not only is there a decrease in income, but there is an increase in your expenses, like diapers, clothing and toys. Some couples find they need a car or larger living quarters which places even more demands on their financial resources. However, unlike most of the previous worries, you can plan for your future financial needs and not get caught short. Check with your bank, a local college or the internet for guidance on budgeting and financial planning for families with young children.

 

Okay dads - did you find this information helpful? Moms - do you have a better understanding of the fears and concerns your partner may have. Share your thoughts and leave a comment below. We'd love to hear what you think! 

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