There are different theories on what causes antenatal and postnatal depression. It is most likely a combination of several of the below:
Becoming a parent is one of the biggest transitions a person can go through in their lifetime. Every pregnancy, birth and baby are different and each comes with its own set of challenges whether this is your first baby or your tenth.
Problems within relationships may be magnified, you may have other children at home who will need to adapt to a new sibling or you may be concerned about your job or financial situation. All of these stresses can be contributing factors in depression.
If you have suffered a miscarriage or still birth, this can bring up feelings of grief and sadness as well as fear for the current pregnancy.
While in most cases antenatal depression will resolve before the birth of the baby, it is estimated that up to a third will continue and evolve into postnatal depression. It is important to recognise both conditions early in order for speedy diagnosis and treatment.
It is important to note that perinatal depression is 100% treatable and in most cases can be resolved quickly with early intervention.
Pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding are times of great hormonal change in a woman as the body grows, nourishes and births a baby. This can cause changes in mood as well as physical changes in the body that may be uncomfortable or unsettling.
In pregnancy, nausea can cause a lot of mental distress, especially if it persists for the length of the pregnancy or is severe (a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum)
Iron and zinc deficiencies
These have been linked to depression in pregnancy as the body may become deficient. Eating plenty of iron and zinc rich foods is very important as well as Vitamin C to help the body absorb the iron.
Changes in appearance
Pregnancy and motherhood take a natural toll on how our bodies look. We may gain weight, lose weight, lose hair after pregnancy and our skin can change. All of this can make us lose some of our confidence. specially in today’s society where a great emphasis is placed on a woman’s appearance, the process of becoming a mother and finding yourself with a body that feels different from usual can be very upsetting.
Discomfort during pregnancy, and the normal frequent night wakings of a baby mean that sleep is often interrupted or you wake feeling unrested. Sleep is a crucial process that allows our bodies to heal and our brains to process the events of the day. When this is disturbed, the effect can be extremely detrimental.