Recently, more and more women have opened up about their experiences with postpartum depression. Hearing that other women are dealing with the condition can undoubtedly help struggling new mamas feel less alone. Unfortunately, depression during pregnancy, or prenatal depression, often isn't talked about with as much candor. You might even have prenatal depression and not recognize it because it manifests as one of the many things you didn't realize are signs of prenatal depression.
According to Slate, medical professionals didn't believe that prenatal depression was possible for quite some time. They thought that your pregnancy hormones would prevent it. But depression during pregnancy is relatively prevalent. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Psychiatric Association published a joint report in 2009 that found that between 14 and 23 percent of pregnant women will experience symptoms of depression. Although not all of those experiences result in an actual diagnosis of prenatal depression, you're far from alone if you're one of those pregnant women experiencing symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms, talk to your doctor about your concerns. Also, it can't hurt to periodically check in with your pregnant friends or family members. No one should have to feel like they're all alone. It takes a village, right?
1. Withdrawing From Friends
Everyone cancels plans from time to time. That being said, if you're normally social and you start to avoid spending time with friends, it could be a sign that you're dealing with prenatal depression, according to a post on Mom.me. It can be a fine line between typical "I just don't feel up to it today" behavior and an indicator of prenatal depression, so if it starts to worry you, talk to your healthcare provider.
2. Feelings Of Incompetence
Again, this is something that practically everyone — pregnant or not — feels on occasion. According to the aforementioned Slate article, which also discussed contributor Jessica Grose's personal experience, feelings of failure, incompetence, and worthlessness can be subtle clues that you're experiencing prenatal depression.
3. Loss Of Appetite
Your appetite can change a lot, even when you're not pregnant. If you're avoiding eating much for an extended period of time because you don't have an appetite, that could be a sign of depression during pregnancy, according to The New York Times.
4. Not Wanting To Take Care Of Older Children
Experiencing these feelings can be really scary for pregnant women. It doesn't mean that you're not taking care of them, but according to the previously-mentioned post on Mom.me, a lack motivation regarding caring for other people can be a sign that something more serious than exhaustion is going on.
5. Constant Fatigue
Of course, many women experience fatigue while pregnant. If it doesn't go away, however, it might be worth having a chat with your healthcare provider. Being so fatigued that rest doesn't help could be a sign of prenatal depression, according to Baby Center.
6. Feelings Of Guilt
Grose wrote in Slate that when she was dealing with prenatal depression, she experienced major feelings of guilt. Feeling guilty that you're not acting how a pregnant lady "should" act can make things worse. There's no one right way to act, but if the way you're behaving is concerning you enough that you're feeling guilty about it, it might be time to talk to your doctor.
7. Inability To Sleep Or Constant Sleep
If you're up all night or sleeping all the time, it could be a subtle sign of prenatal depression, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Not getting enough (or any) sleep could also potentially exacerbate other symptoms, making your pregnancy really rough. Talk to your doctor, especially if you have more than one symptom. They can help determine the right treatment plan and help you through it all.