Prenatal Depression


Depression during pregnancy, or antepartum depression, is a mood disorder, a biological illness that involves changes in brain chemistry. During pregnancy, hormone changes can affect the chemicals in your brain, which are directly related to depression and anxiety.


  • Persistent sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
  • Recurring thoughts of death, suicide, or hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Change in eating habits


Untreated depression can affect a woman, resulting in her not having the strength or desire to adequately care for herself or her developing baby.

If you feel you may be struggling with depression, the most important step is to seek help. Talk with your health care provider about your symptoms and struggles, and discuss options for treatment, which may include:

  • Support groups
  • Therapy
  • Changes in nutrition, exercise and rest


Some women with prenatal emotional disorders recover without incident. Many others need professional help. Prenatal emotional problems are physical and real. A woman can not “pull herself out of it” any more than she can pull herself out of a heart attack.

A woman experiencing any of these symptoms can call our Support Line 805-541-3367 for free confidential information and referrals. All the symptoms, from the mildest to the most severe are temporary and treatable. Treatment varies, depending on the severity of the symptoms. For more information visit our Resources page.

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