If you're expecting, you've probably come across postpartum depression, but did you know that depression can also occur during pregnancy?

Prenatal depression refers to depression occurring during pregnancy. Symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, fatigue, and changes in sleep and appetite patterns. In severe cases, prenatal depression can lead to self-harm or harm to the baby. Treatments typically involve therapy, seeking a psychiatrist hospital and, in some cases, medications.

Book your appointment now with our Psychiatrist experts at Felix hospital : Call +91 9667064100.

What is Depression Before, During and After Pregnancy?

Depression before, during, and after pregnancy, often referred to as perinatal depression, encompasses a range of mood disorders that can affect women during pregnancy and up to a year after childbirth. Here’s a breakdown of how depression can manifest across these phases:

1. Before Pregnancy (Preconception):
  - Risk Factors: Women having a history of depression or anxiety disorders are at higher risk.
  - Impact: Pre-existing depression can affect a woman's decision to conceive and her overall mental health during pregnancy.

2. During Pregnancy (Antenatal Depression):
  - Symptoms: Similar to depression outside of pregnancy, including persistent sadness, anxiety, changes in sleep or appetite, and loss of interest in activities.
  - Risk Factors: Hormonal changes, stress, and personal or family history of mental health issues can contribute.
  - Impact: Antenatal depression can affect the health of the mother and potentially the baby, influencing prenatal care and bonding.

3. After Pregnancy (Postpartum Depression):
  - Symptoms: Begins within weeks or months of childbirth and may include severe mood swings, difficulty bonding with the baby, and thoughts of harming oneself or the baby.
  - Risk Factors: Hormonal changes, lack of support, sleep deprivation, and personal or family history of depression.
  - Impact: Postpartum depression can hinder a mother’s ability to care for herself and her baby, impacting breastfeeding, mother-child bonding, and overall family dynamics.


Symptoms of Depression During Pregnancy

The signs and symptoms of depression during pregnancy are similar to those experienced outside of pregnancy. However, there are additional signs that may indicate depression during pregnancy:


  • Excessive worry about the baby's health

  • Feeling inadequate about becoming a parent

  • Not finding joy in activities that used to be enjoyable

  • Difficulty feeling reassured or comforted

  • Not following prenatal care instructions well

  • Using substances like cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs

  • Not gaining enough weight due to poor eating habits

  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Research suggests that depressive episodes can occur more often during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy.


Causes of Depression During Pregnancy

Several factors contribute to experiencing depression during pregnancy.


  • Personal or Family History: Having a history of mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety, increases the likelihood of experiencing depression during pregnancy.

  • Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, can affect neurotransmitters in the brain, influencing mood regulation.

  • Physical Changes: Pregnancy brings significant physical changes like weight gain, discomfort, hormonal fluctuations, and sleep disturbances, which can contribute to feelings of sadness or anxiety.

  • Emotional Stress: Many expectant mothers experience stress related to financial concerns, changes in their relationship dynamics, or worries about their ability to care for a child.

  • Pregnancy Complications: Complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or concerns about the baby's health can add emotional strain.

  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Adjusting to new roles and responsibilities as a parent-to-be can be overwhelming, especially for those who feel unprepared etc.

Managing and Treating Depression During Pregnancy

Treating depression during pregnancy is crucial because untreated depression can affect your ability to seek proper prenatal care, eat well, and take care of yourself. It also increases your risk of postpartum depression and may make bonding with your baby harder. Treatment options vary depending on how severe your depression is but may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.


Managing depression during pregnancy involves several approaches to support mental health and well-being:


1. Seek Professional Help: Consult a healthcare provider or therapist who specializes in treating depression during pregnancy. They can provide guidance tailored to your needs.

2. Therapy: Engage in therapy sessions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which can help you manage negative thoughts and develop coping strategies.

3. Medication: In some cases, antidepressant medication may be prescribed. Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks to make an informed decision.

4. Support Network: Build a support system of family, friends, or support groups where you can share your feelings and receive emotional support.

5. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a balanced diet, engage in regular physical activity (if approved by your healthcare provider), and ensure adequate rest.

6. Avoid Substance Use: Refrain from using alcohol, smoking, or drugs, as they can worsen depression symptoms.

Prevention of Depression During Pregnancy

- Early Recognition: Be aware of the signs of depression and seek help promptly if you notice symptoms.
- Healthy Habits: Practice self-care, maintain a supportive environment, and address stressors proactively.


Prognosis of Depression During Pregnancy

  • Treatment Outcomes: With appropriate treatment, many women experience significant improvement in their symptoms and can have a positive pregnancy and postpartum experience.


  • Continued Monitoring: Regular follow-ups with healthcare providers help monitor your progress and adjust treatment as needed.


Know your Best Psychiatrist in Noida at Felix Hospital

Dr. Ashima Ranjan, DPM (Psychiatry), MBBS, is a highly regarded Psychiatrist and Neuropsychiatrist in Noida with 12 years of experience specializing in psychology and psychiatry.

Col (Dr) Jaideep Gambhir, MBBS, MD (Psychiatry), is a board-certified psychiatrist with 25+ years of experience. He specializes in adult psychiatric care, geriatric dementia, child and adolescent psychiatry, de-addiction, substance abuse disorders, and psychotherapy.

If you need to consult a doctor regarding any issue, please visit Felix Hospital. Call now +91 9667064100.



Managing depression during pregnancy is crucial for both maternal and fetal health. By seeking help early, engaging in therapy, considering medication under medical guidance, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can effectively manage depression and promote a positive pregnancy experience. Remember, reaching out for support is a sign of strength, and your healthcare team at the best gynecology hospital in Noida is there to help you through this journey.



1) Is it normal to be very emotional at the end of pregnancy?

Yes, it is normal to be very emotional at the end of pregnancy. Hormonal changes, physical discomfort, anxiety about childbirth, and the anticipation of becoming a parent can all contribute to heightened emotions during this time.

2) Why does pregnancy feel so lonely?

Pregnancy can feel lonely due to several reasons, including physical discomfort that limits social activities, changes in relationships, lack of understanding or support from others, and the unique, personal nature of the pregnancy experience.

3) How does sadness affect the baby?

Sadness during pregnancy can lead to increased stress hormones in the mother, which may affect the baby’s development. Prolonged sadness or depression can lead to preterm birth, low birth weight, and developmental issues in the baby.

4) Does getting angry during pregnancy affect the baby?

Getting angry occasionally is not likely to harm the baby. However, chronic anger and stress can lead to increased levels of stress hormones, which might affect the baby's development and increase the risk of complications such as preterm birth.

5) Can my baby feel when I cry?

Babies in the womb can sense the mother's emotions to some extent. While they may not understand the emotion, changes in the mother's stress levels and hormonal balance can affect the baby's environment and development.

6) Can babies feel when mom is angry?

Babies can sense when their mother is angry due to the release of stress hormones like cortisol. This can affect the baby's heart rate and movement patterns. Chronic stress and anger can have more significant effects on the baby’s development.

7) What is the quick treatment for depression during pregnancy?

Quick treatment for depression during pregnancy includes talking to a healthcare provider to discuss treatment options. These may include therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy), lifestyle changes (like regular exercise and a healthy diet), and, in some cases, medications that are safe for use during pregnancy.

8) What are the causes of depression during pregnancy?

Depression during pregnancy can be caused by hormonal changes, a history of depression or mental health issues, stressful life events, lack of support, relationship issues, and concerns about pregnancy, childbirth, or parenting.

9) Why do pregnant women feel depressed?

Pregnant women may feel depressed due to hormonal fluctuations, physical changes and discomforts, emotional stress, anxiety about the future, changes in identity and roles, and lack of social support. Each woman's experience is unique, and multiple factors can contribute to feelings of depression during pregnancy.

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