Most women experience some form of morning sickness, and hyperemesis gravidarum affects about 0.3-1.5 percent of pregnant women. A recent clinical study of over 200 women has revealed that severe morning sickness is directly related to depression during and after pregnancy.
Researchers from Imperial College London found that those who showed signs of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which was about half of them, were more likely to be depressed.
The study found that women with HG are around 8 times more likely to suffer depression during pregnancy, and four times more likely to have postpartum depression, according to Dr Nicola Mitchell-Jones, a special registrar in OB-GYN at Imperial College.
These results probably aren’t particularly surprising. Whilst the sample is small, what the study highlights, however, is the need for pregnant women (and their support system) to keep a careful watch on their mental health.
A woman’s experience during pregnancy can carry over into the postpartum period
About 15 percent of women will have depression or anxiety during pregnancy. A difficult pregnancy can result in a harder entry into motherhood, and many women will suffer in silence because they feel a sense of shame, guilt, or embarrassment.
Of course, depression is not something someone has control over, especially during this vulnerable time. An untreated mental illness can have long-term and wellbeing impacts for a mother and baby.
Long-term results can be improved with early intervention
It is important to get the right treatment for depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period. The first step is to talk with your GP or maternal and child health nurse, who will determine what the next steps could be. As with physical health, it’s critical to discuss any mental health concerns that a woman may be experiencing.
For more information about symptoms and support for depression, read:
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