Nearly 13 percent of all women will develop postpartum depression or depression even before Baby arrives. As an expectant mother, it is important to understand what factors during your pregnancy may lead to both the development of antenatal depression as well as postpartum depression. For many women, the presence of antenatal depression is a clear path to postpartum depression and it is, therefore, important to resolve depression during pregnancy in order to negate the effects once your baby arrives.
A common complication among expectant mothers is the development of a socioeconomic complication known as parenting stress. Described simply as the confusion and stress associated with assuming a parenting role, especially for new Moms who were single and unwed prior to becoming pregnant, parenting stress can lead to not only psychological complications during and after pregnancy, but may also impede normal growth and development of your baby while you are pregnant.
If you are an expectant mom who experienced much freedom in her life, had some financial difficulties prior to becoming pregnant, or if you are unsure about your mothering skills, these are all factors that may lead to your development of parenting stress. If you are feeling distressed during your pregnancy, or you are sensing that you are depressed during your pregnancy, it will be important to find a support group and to speak with your obstetrician about your feelings. Because depression during pregnancy can lead to the full development of antenatal depression, which then may lead to postpartum depression, it is important to speak about your emotions during pregnancy especially if you are feeling distressed about becoming a parent.
Parenting stress is a common mental health complication that affects many pregnant women each year. For many expectant mothers, however, the complication is not readily recognized by the obstetrician and many women feel depressed and struggle with motherhood and their role as a parent. Feelings of sadness, frustration, anxiety, and guilt may be common among all new moms but when these emotions are affecting your ability to care for yourself, and to ensure a healthy pregnancy, be sure to speak with your obstetrician about finding a parenting coach who can support you through your pregnancy and give you the parenting tools necessary to appease your mind as you wait for your baby’s arrival. While a parenting coach cannot resolve all parenting stress, they can provide the support for you and give you a more happy and healthy pregnancy, alleviate antenatal depression.
Sources: Journal of Women’s Health 2003, 12:373-379.