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Can You Have Postpartum Depression Before You Give Birth?

Can You Have Postpartum Depression Before You Give Birth?

Even if you haven’t given birth yet, you can begin experiencing low moods and anxiety in anticipation of impending parenthood. Fortunately, this gives you more time to find help before the baby arrives. 

Here are some key symptoms of prenatal depression, and how to recognize the condition before it becomes postpartum. 

At Genesis Psychiatric Solutions, board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Ifeanyi Olele provides a range of services, including women’s mental health services to help you navigate the pre- and postpartum periods of your life.

Understanding perinatal depression

While most people know the condition as postpartum depression specifically, women’s health experts generally agree that the entire perinatal period can be rife with mental health issues. This includes anxiety, depression, and mood swings. 

Research indicates that there isn’t a clear distinction when one form of depression becomes another. This is why the term perinatal exists to cover the entire pregnancy and postpartum period. 

Many women experience depression following the birth of their child, given the lack of sleep and stress of caring for an infant, but this isn’t always the case. The hormonal changes that come with pregnancy create plenty of variables that might affect your mental health before your child’s birth. 

There are also the inherent limitations of being pregnant. You have to remove things from your diet, routine, and lifestyle that you might enjoy or depend on, or even medications and addictions like nicotine and caffeine. 

You may feel stiff, sore, and cumbersome, unable to  move around as freely as you wish. You also might feel apprehensive about your baby’s arrival for whatever reason. 

Recognizing risks and signs 

Unfortunately, the name and concept of “ baby blues” has persisted to the point that many women don’t recognize when their symptoms cross the line into mental illness. 

This is why it’s important to take your symptoms and moods seriously, even if you’re tempted to call yourself “just hormonal” and shove your feelings down. 

There are numerous risk factors and symptoms of prenatal depression. You might be at risk if you:

The symptoms of prenatal depression can be difficult to identify and address, and can be confused with or have crossover with symptoms of general depression or anxiety. They include: 

Whether you haven’t felt like yourself since you got pregnant or you’re just starting to feel off in the days approaching your due date, it’s worth mentioning to a specialist. Nobody knows your body and mind better than you. 

At Genesis Psychiatric Solutions, we provide women’s health services to those seeking a safe environment to discuss their struggles with pregnancy and motherhood. To schedule an appointment, call our location closest to you, or request a consultation online. We have locations in Fairfax and Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

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