Pregnancy can be a joyful experience- and a stressful one. Research suggests that 1 in 7 women experience symptoms of depression throughout their pregnancy. While you may be more familiar with mental health issues following a pregnancy, experiencing periods of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness throughout this period of time is relatively common.  

Antepartum depression

Also known as prenatal depression, antepartum depression is defined by similar major depressive disorder or clinical depression symptoms. Difficulty sleeping, low energy, changes in appetite are expected throughout pregnancy. Women who are experiencing these symptoms for the first time may feel unsure whether this is normal and may be reluctant to address them with their healthcare providers as a result.

On the other hand, a woman's physical health tends to be the focus throughout her pregnancy rather than her mental health. Physicians may attribute your symptoms to your pregnancy rather than antepartum depression. 

In addition to these barriers, our society believes that being pregnant is the happiest period of a woman's life. Surging hormones combined with stress, anxiety, and pressure to feel endlessly optimistic can affect any woman's emotional state during pregnancy.

Signs of antepartum depression

Antepartum means "before childbirth" and only happens throughout pregnancy. With all of the expected changes that occur throughout pregnancy, you may not always recognize the symptoms of antepartum depression. A few indications may look like the following:

  • Increased anxiety in general or about your baby
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of dreadfulness
  • Feeling unprepared or inadequate about parenthood. 
  • A lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • A lack of motivation to take care of yourself
  • Poor adherence to prenatal care
  • Smoking, drinking alcohol, or drug use.
  • Not gaining enough weight.
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Hopelessness, or thoughts of suicide


It's important to note that your symptoms may be different from other women. Depending on your symptoms' severity, treatment options can range from psychotherapy, support groups, or medication. 

Treatment during pregnancy

If you're experiencing any symptoms of antepartum depression, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Your prenatal care, primary care, and mental health provider can communicate with one another to ensure that you and your baby receive quality care. There are safe and effective ways to treat and manage the symptoms of depression, so contact one of your providers today. Asking for help is the first step to finding ways to feel better and enjoy this incredible time in your life.