Depression During Pregnancy


Depression is a common illness that can be mild or very serious. It is more than feeling sad or upset for a short time or feeling grief after a loss. Depression changes your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and physical health. It affects how you function in your daily life. It also can affect how you relate to your family, friends, and coworkers. Depression can occur at different times of life or in different situations.

Depression is common during pregnancy, affecting about 1 in 10 pregnant women. Some women have depression and anxiety for the first time in their lives during pregnancy or after delivery. The signs of depression can seem like the normal ups and downs of pregnancy. A blue mood now and then is normal. But it’s important to know the signs of depression.

Talk with your OBGYN if you have any of these signs for at least 2 weeks:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Loss of interest in work or other activities
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless
  • Sleeping more than normal or having trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite, losing weight, or eating much more than normal and gaining weight
  • Feeling very tired or without energy
  • Having trouble paying attention, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Being restless or slowed down in a way that others notice
  • Thinking about death or suicide

Thinking about death or suicide is a sign of depression. If you are in crisis or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, call 911 right away. See the Resources section for other support options, including helplines you can text or call and online support groups for pregnant women. You also can talk with a trusted friend, family member, or your ob-gyn.

Women who have severe depression during pregnancy may have trouble taking care of themselves. They may not eat healthfully, attend prenatal care checkups, or get enough rest. If you took antidepressants before pregnancy, you may become depressed again if you stop taking them. Having untreated depression during pregnancy also raises your risk of postpartum depression.

Talk with your OBGYN as soon as possible. Tell them if you had depression in the past, if you take medication for depression, or if you are feeling depressed now. Your OBGYN may ask questions about your mood during prenatal care or postpartum visits. Or they may ask you to write down answers to a survey that screens for mental health conditions. Your answers will help your ob-gyn understand what kind of help you need.

Information gathered from