Pregnancy, Infertility and PPD - Skylark Counselling

Anxiety During Pregnancy   

For many individuals, pregnancy comes with a moderate amount of fear, anxiety, and/or worry. This is completely normal and to be expected. Anxiety becomes a concern when it starts to impact daily living, and leaves little time for anything else, such as enjoying the experience and being present. Learning what anxiety is and how to manage it can be beneficial for people experiencing heightened fear, worry, and/or anxiety during pregnancy. 

Signs of Anxiety During Pregnancy 

  • Uncontrollable feelings of anxiousness or worry
  • Excessive worrying, especially your health or your baby’s health 
  • Inability to concentrate 
  • Irritated or agitated mood
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty sleeping

Infertility 

Infertility can be emotionally and physically exhausting. It is distressing for many individuals/couples and can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and stress. When fertility treatments are unsuccessful it can cause pain and grief. Most individuals/couples struggling with infertility experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

Links Between Infertility and Depression 

  • Stress → infertility can be an extremely stressful experience, especially when someone feels like they are under a lot of pressure to get pregnant. 
  • Treatment Side Effects → many fertility treatments involve hormones, some of which can impact a person’s mood and may be linked to increased risk of depression. 
  • Financial Stress of Fertility Treatments → fertility treatments can be expensive and the increased financial stress can be a risk factor for depression. 
  • Medical Conditions → some medical conditions can increase the likelihood of infertility, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), may also increase the risk of depression. 

Signs of Infertility-Related Anxiety and Depression 

  • Low or depressed mood
  • Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping too much or too little) 
  • Low energy 
  • Inability to concentrate 
  • Loss of interest in activities one used to enjoy
  • Unintentional weight loss or weight gain 

Postpartum Depression 

Giving birth and becoming a parent is an emotionally-charged experience. It is not uncommon for new mothers to experience “Baby Blues” after giving birth, which includes mood swings, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Baby Blues tend to begin a few days after giving birth and can last up to two weeks. 

Some new mothers experience Postpartum Depression which can often be mistaken for Baby Blues. Postpartum Depression lasts longer and the symptoms are much more severe. In extreme cases, Postpartum Depression can interfere with a mother’s ability to care for themselves or their baby. Symptoms may develop during pregnancy, soon after giving birth, or up to a year after the baby has been born. 

Signs of Postpartum Depression 

  • Depressed mood 
  • Anxiety 
  • Mood swings 
  • Panic attacks 
  • Irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping too much or not at all) 
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, shame, or inadequacy
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Inability to concentrate 
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby 

Resources we Recommend for Pregnancy, Infertility, and Postpartum Depression: 

Citations:

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