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Could you have antenatal or postnatal depression?

 
Are you wondering if you are experiencing symptoms of postnatal depression/anxiety or even antenatal anxiety/depression? We take a look at the symptoms, the problems with delayed diagnosis and the steps you can take to receiving help.
Are you dealing with postnatal depression or anxiety, but not really sure?

Or experiencing antenatal anxiety or depression during your pregnancy?

We take a look at the symptoms, the problems with delayed diagnosis and the steps you can take to receiving help.
 

Dealing with postnatal & antenatal depression

 

1. Latest research


National statistics advise that 10-15% of mothers develop postnatal depression (PND).

However, Mothers Helpers believes that the statistic is not a true reflection of the number of mums living with PND.
 
Their recent survey revealed that 63% of mothers who had experienced postnatal depression or anxiety started experiencing their symptoms during pregnancy but they were not diagnosed until long after the symptoms began.  

Respondents conveyed that the two key reasons for a delayed diagnosed were:

1. Health professionals didn’t pick up that they had antenatal or postnatal depression/anxiety.

2. They themselves found it hard to be honest about how they felt or to ask for help.
 

2. Symptoms of postnatal depression or anxiety


Symptoms of antenatal and postnatal depression or anxiety can include:
 
  • Persistent low mood  
 
  • Tearfulness
 
  • Feeling agitated, irritable or angry
 
  • Difficulty getting to sleep or sleeping too much
 
  • Waking up a few hours before you’re due to wake up and unable to get back to sleep
 
  • Negative thoughts
 
  • Low self-esteem
 
  • Loss of appetite or increased appetite
 
  • Loss of interest in the things you used to be interested in
 
  • Low energy
 
  • Low motivation
 

3. Problems with delayed diagnosis


The longer a mother is left undiagnosed and untreated, the greater the impact it has on her, her partner and her child.

Consequences of untreated postnatal depression and antenatal depression can include:
   
  • She may develop chronic (life-long) depression
 
  • Her partner can develop depression also
 
  • Relationship breakdown is common
 
  • Her child is at-risk of mental illness and poor attachment
 
  • Poor attachment can lead to all sorts of problems later in life, such as learning difficulties, trouble with the law, addictions etc 
 

4. Next steps


If you are unsure or think you might have some of these symptoms, the first step is to complete the Mother’s Helper’s online Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Questionnaire.

It’s a simple 10 questions survey which can help indicate whether you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/or depression during pregnancy and the postnatal period.

However, it is important to remember that this is a screening test, not a medical diagnosis.

If you are at all concerned about the symptoms you are experiencing you can pass on and discuss your questionnaire results with your mid-wife, well-child nurse or your GP.

You can also contact Mothers Helpers who offer a free Initial Assessment to discuss how they could increase support for you.
 

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Source: This article was written by Mothers Helpers - Supporting mums under stress.
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