Up to 20 percent of women deal with depression during pregnancy. Often times, this depression is mistaken for the mood swings that most pregnant women experience. However, if left untreated, real depression can put you and your baby at risk for certain complications.
If you are exhibiting any signs of depression, you should consult your health care professional. In the mean time, there are a few simple things you can do to keep the blues at bay during your pregnancy.
1. Build a Strong Support System
If you're experiencing depression, nothing can take the place of therapy with a licensed professional. But, if you need a little extra support, don't be afraid to call up your pals and talk to them about your fears and frustrations. Regardless of whether you are single or involved, you need a strong support system to help you during your pregnancy. Don't be too proud to lean on your friends during your time of need.
2. Stay Active
There is a common misconception that if you're pregnant, you can't engage in any physical activity. This could not be further from the truth. Staying active during your pregnancy can work wonders for your body and mind. Studies show that regular exercise improves self-esteem, reduces stress and combats depression.
If you already have an exercise routine, you may be able to continue working out. Speak to your doctor about any modifications you may need to make. If you don't have an established routine, try taking frequent walks. A little bit of exercise will go a long way when it comes to dealing with your depression.
3. Keep it Light
With a simple flip of a light switch, you can change your entire attitude. Studies have shown that bright lighting can be therapeutic for pregnant women battling depression. So, if you have a bad day at work, turn on an extra lamp or two. You may spend a few extra dollars on your monthly electric bill, but it will be well worth it.
4. Pamper Yourself
Many women have a difficult time adjusting to the physical changes that accompany pregnancy. After all, it's not easy to feel pretty when every part of your body is expanding at an exponential rate. Indulging in small luxuries can give your self esteem the boost it needs.
Treat yourself to a spa day or a fancy haircut. Buy that purse that you've been eyeing for a couple of weeks. You won't have time to enjoy these things once your new baby arrives, so take advantage of this time and do something nice for you.
5. Stay Focused on the Big Picture
Pregnancy can be a very emotionally and physically draining time. However, all the pain and discomfort you are feeling is for a purpose. Remind yourself of the light at the end of the tunnel. Cut out pictures of cute babies and put them on your refrigerator. Get a jump start on decorating the nursery.
Remember, everything you are going through will be worth it when you hold your new baby in your arms for the first time.