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What are the Effects of Depression on Pregnancy?

written by: moniquesam • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 9/19/2010

A pregnant women dreams and make plans about her unborn child but it never occurs to her that she may need to be aware of the effects of depression on pregnancy. But many pregnant women experience depression while pregnant so its important to know the difference between sadness and depression

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    Depression and the Effects on the Mother

    As women we all grow up playing with dolls, treating them like our babies and loving them. So it is only natural that as adults the thought of being pregnant and having a baby would bring joy and excitement into our lives. But the problem is that this is not always true for every woman because many women suffer from depression during their pregnancy. The sad part is that pregnant women who are depressed may not even realize they are depressed and dismiss the symptoms of depression. These women may think that the way they are feeling is normal and think that it is nothing to worry about because a lot of different things are happening with their body. But the truth is depression during pregnancy is a real threat and you should look for signs and seek treatment if you are depressed because the effects of depression on pregnancy can be very harmful to you. This is because when you are depressed you experience a lot of emotional problems such as sadness and low self-esteem. This may cause anxiety and make every day activities difficult. You may stop eating, and start abusing drugs to get rid of those negative emotions. You may even think about hurting yourself or suicide. Also you increase your chances of developing high blood pressure and postpartum depression.

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    Effects of Depression on Fetus and Family

    We now know some of the effects of depression on pregnancy and the mother but what many of us may not realize is that those same issues can affect the fetus negatively. Just think about it, if the mother is not eating due to her depression the baby is suffering also. This is because the baby takes its nutrients from the mother. So if the mother is not eating and supplying her body with nutrients where is the baby going to get the nutrients he need? In turn this can cause low birth rate and fetal development as well as developmental problems. Also the persistent sadness, hopelessness and inability to function may cause her to miss or avoid her prenatal appointments or take her prenatal vitamins. Avoiding those appointments may cause her to miss out on some important information and screening that could benefit her unborn child. Drugs and suicide could become an issue as well. Because taking drugs while pregnant could cause the fetus to have long term problems after birth and if she attempts suicide the mother and fetus could die. The family may also suffer because of the mother’s depression. This is because the family becomes worried and concerned about the welfare of the pregnant woman and unborn child. They may try to cheer her up and take on extra responsibilities. The problem is that if she is depressed, none of their efforts will make a difference thus causing them to be angry and frustrated because they don't realize why she is doing this. They may feel like she is hurting the unborn baby and selfish. Sadly this could cause her family to break apart which could push her more and more into depression.