depression pregnancy

Updated January 20, 2016

You’re full of new life! Overjoyed, right?

Actually, if you’re among the 1 in 10 – or even more – pregnant women who struggle with the symptoms of depression, then you might not be feeling overjoyed at all. While you may be happy to be pregnant, this may be overshadowed by cloudy feelings…

I know it can be really tough to admit we’re depressed when everyone else thinks we should be ecstatic. Many women have told me they fear they will be judged by others as “bad moms” for admitting they feel miserable.  And it can be terrifying to imagine taking care of a baby when you feel you can barely get a smile on for the day.

You may also feel very alone with your concerns.

Your midwife or doctor, and even your friends and family, might not recognize that you’re depressed. Your symptoms may be mistaken as simply normal changes of pregnancy due to hormonal shifts and other physiologic changes. After all, fatigue, changes in eating habits, sleep problems, general aches and pains, changes in mood, irritability, and tearfulness – all of these are normal during pregnancy, right?

The answer is sometimes, but not always. When mild and infrequent, these symptoms may be normal, but they are also classic signs of depression! 

Why Do I Feel So Blue? Causes of Pregnancy Depression

The root causes of depression are often complex – but they can be tackled! 

As you can see from the diagram below, depression has many possible causes and sometimes even more than one. These can include:

  • Medical problems (for example, hypothyroidism, severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, or a pregnancy-related medical problem)
  • A previously complicated pregnancy or pregnancy loss
  • Nutritional deficiencies (protein, omega-3 fats, iron, vitamin D, to name a few)
  • Fatigue from poor sleep
  • Blood sugar problems, including both hypoglycemia and elevated blood sugar
  • Lack of support or relationship problems
  • Family history of depression
  • Inadequate or ineffective coping skills
  • Stressful life problems (money, living situation, job stress)
  • Unhappiness or ambivalence about being pregnant
  • Food sensitivities  or  gut dysbiosis (unhealthy changes in the gut flora or microbiome)
  • Lack of exercise/movement
  • Lack of sunlight or time in nature
  • Environmental toxins, for example, heavy metal toxicity, usually from eating too much high mercury fish such as tuna, or hormone mimicking chemicals such as plastics from food packaging and water bottles, to name a few sources

Depression in pregnancy wheeljpg

Does Depression Pose Increased Risks to My Baby?

Untreated, severe depression can increase some risks to you and your baby – that’s why it’s so important to promptly get the support and the treatments that work best for you.

Even moderate depression can impair your quality of life.

Problems can arise because when we’re depressed, we don’t tend to take optimal care of ourselves. If this happens during pregnancy women are more likely to:

  • Skimp on nutrition
  • Not gain enough weight
  • Have sleep problems
  • Skip prenatal visits
  • Use harmful substances (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, or drugs)

This can increase the risk of premature birth, having a low birth weight baby, medical problems in the pregnancy, and problems at birth.

Increasing numbers of studies are also showing that depression, stress, and anxiety in the pregnant mom influences and alters the expression of the baby’s genes, increasing the child’s lifetime risk of mental health problems.

Prenatal depression also increases the risk of postpartum depression, which, if untreated, can lead to developmental, behavioral, and mental health problems in the baby, as well as problems that arise from neglect if mom is unable to fully care for the baby.

On top of it, all of this can also have an impact on your self-esteem and confidence as a new mom, and this can also negatively affect your parenting.

But not to worry – there is help!

Should I Take an Antidepressant?

Whether to take an antidepressant is a complex and often tough decision. The evidence on the safety of these medications in pregnancy does show some risk of potential birth defects, and also withdrawal symptoms in baby after birth. You have to weight the potential benefit to you and the baby against medical risks of  taking antidepressants in pregnancy. I address this thoroughly in Depression in Pregnancy: Should You Take Medications?.

For mild to moderate depression, natural approaches can be tried first, and are often all that is needed, but women should also consider being under the care of a midwife or obstetrician and a mental health provider simultaneously.

Women with moderate to severe depression, in addition to trying these 10 tips, should be under the care of a physician who specializes in prenatal depression. Medications are an option that should be considered in severe cases, or in moderate-severe cases where your health is at risk because you aren’t able to take care of yourself; but in moderate-severe cases one can often try natural treatment for a few weeks first .

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“The new medicine for women” as I call my whole women approach to Functional Medicine, includes the best combination of available strategies for individual women, used with wisdom and common sense.

So What Can I Do? 10 Strategies for Beating Depression Naturally

Here are 10 pregnancy-safe, positive steps you can take toward optimizing your mood and your wellness.

1. Get Real About How You Feel

The first step toward feeling better is to get real about how you feel. If you’re not happy, if you’re feeling sad, or worse than this – feeling desperate – don’t pretend otherwise. The consequences of ignoring depression in pregnancy are serious for you and baby. Admit how you’re feeling to yourself, let your partner, a close relative, or BFF know, tell your care provider and get the ball rolling on feeling better. You’re not alone, there is help, and you deserve wellness!

2. Get a Medical AOK
A number of medical conditions, including thyroid problems, diabetes, hypoglycemia, and anemia can cause symptoms of depression. Have your doctor or midwife run some simple blood tests to check for these and start appropriate treatment as necessary.

Many women who experienced severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy also report depression – sometimes just because they felt so awful and thought it would never end, other times likely because underlying nutritional issues led to or resulted from the vomiting. Get with your midwife, doctor, or a functional medicine physician who specializes in prenatal care to help you get your nutrition on track.

3. Seek Support, Stay Connected, and Pay for Help if Needed
This is not a time to be shy asking your partner, other adult family members, your BFF, or other moms you know for support, particularly if you already have young children and are experiencing depression. If you are single or if everyone else is too busy to help when you need it, hire some extra help – whether for getting shopping and chores done, or taking care of the house or older kids. This will give you time to take care of yourself – and it’s so important!

Find a therapist. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one form of therapy that is especially helpful in developing coping skills for depression, and changing old, ineffective thinking patterns into new and successful skills for coping with challenging emotions, behaviors, and thoughts.

Get educated and clear out the fears. Interestingly, a recent study showed that fear of birth is associated with the later development of postpartum depression. While this association has not been studied in pregnancy, it does make sense that unresolved fears and worries can lead to prenatal depression. I once had a patient who was terrified that, because she’d had an abortion as a young adult some 15 years earlier, she would be “punished by God in this pregnancy,” and that her baby would be born deformed. This fear was even playing out in her dreams, causing her to be fatigued on top of the worry! When I was able to elicit the story and her fears, we were able to do some emotional healing around the issue and she once again had peace of mind and peaceful sleep.

4. Optimize your Diet

Gluten and dairy, while we might crave them like crazy during pregnancy, can cause mood problems in those who are sensitive. A trial of gluten and dairy free for a month, even, might shed light on whether these are not optimal for you. If symptoms improve, stay clear of them; if you don’t notice a difference, it might not have been a long enough trial, or you might not be intolerant of these substances. If you do go dairy free, make sure to get calcium from other sources.

Hypoglycemia is common during pregnancy, often made worse by nausea in the first trimester. It is important to eat high quality foods, especially a protein source (nuts, nut butters, meat, fish, or poultry, hummus or something with beans or legumes, or a protein shake, for example) and good quality fats (avocado and nut butters, for example) every few hours, and never skip meals. You do not have to eat larger quantities, but keeping your blood sugar steady is especially important if you struggle with mood swings or depression. High blood sugar over time leads to gestational diabetes, but can also lead to generalized inflammation in the body, and the chemicals produced during an inflammatory response also depress the mood. So make sure to avoid simple carbs (white flour products, white rice, pasta) and sugar, and emphasize a pregnancy-smart way of eating.

Also, make sure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need. Iron deficiency anemia, low vitamin D, low vitamin B12, can all increase depression in pregnancy, and are easily to supplement. Talk with your midwife or doctor about testing.

5. Get a Move On: Yoga and Exercise Really Help!
30 minutes per day of exercise has been shown to prevent and help with depression in pregnancy. One 12-week study done at the University of Michigan, found that group yoga classes in pregnancy substantially reduced depression, increased mindfulness, and improved mother-child bonding after the birth!

6. See The Light
Bright light therapy can be helpful in brightening your mood. The usual dose is up to 10,000 lx for 30–60 min/day using a light box. One side effect is a slightly “hyper” mood – use for a shorter duration or every other day if you experience this. Even just sitting with your face toward a sunny window for 30 minutes each morning has been shown to improve mood.

7. Sleep Well … and Embrace the “Cat Nap” 
We don’t need to be rocket scientists to know that lack of sleep increases depression and irritability, makes us grab for quick sugary foods that later lead to a blood sugar crash, and generally rocks our boat. It also increases inflammation so our health takes some hits when sleep is poor. Since pregnancy naturally makes it harder to sleep due to our growing belly size and frequent need to pee in the night, taking cat naps in the day rather than pushing through or grabbing for sweets or caffeine is the healthy way to catch up on rest and nip depression in the bud.

8. Spend Some Time in Nature
It’s so easy to spend most of our time indoors and to forget how uplifting even a little bit of fresh air and sunshine can be. But getting even 15 minutes of fresh air each day can help us overcome the nature deficit disorder most of us suffer from, and with it, brighten our moods. Consider a brisk walk for the double benefit of fresh air and exercise for a better mood and even better sleep, or find a sunny spot for a quick mediation to brighten your day!

9. Use these Pregnancy-Safe Herbs and Supplements to Reduce Inflammation and Support Your Brain and Nervous System

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: There is good evidence to show that many pregnant women are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and when maternal intake is low, so is the mom’s DHA level which can affects mood. Fish oil capsules (I recommend Nordic Naturals prenatal fish oil products) can be trusted to be mercury-free, and vegetarians can use a product such as Omega Twin by Barleans. I recommend discontinuing use 2 weeks prior to the due date because of a small but possible increased risk of bleeding while supplementing. Though this is likely overly cautious, and most evidence suggests no risk, many herbalists have reported observing bruising in clients taking 2 g or more/day. If you do discontinue it, simply resume a few days after birth to help prevent postpartum depression.
  • Sam-E: A natural substance important for methylation, a process involved in making chemicals called neurotransmitters, which control mood, Sam-E has been well-studied and found to be safe in pregnancy. It should not be used in women with bipolar depression. A typical dose is 400 mg/day, but up to 800 mg (400 twice daily) may be needed for an optimal therapeutic effect. Rarely, it has been reported to cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms, sweating, dizziness, and anxiety.
  • Folate: Important for preventing neural tube defects in our babies, folate is also important for a healthy nervous system. Taking folate does not in itself seem to improve prenatal depression, but it does appear that women who have adequate folate intake respond better to treatment with antidepressant medications. It may also have protective effects against autism in our babies. I recommend 800 mcg – 2 mg of methylfolate daily, ideally starting 3 month prior to pregnancy, or at any point that you realize are pregnant.
  • St. John’s Wort: While the data is limited, and more studies are needed, especially given uncertainty over the safety of conventional antidepressant medications in pregnancy, studies on the effect of prenatal consumption of St. John’s wort on pregnancy in mice and rats were generally associated with normal gestation and offspring development. A limited number of human case reports indicated healthy pregnancies and infants when St. John’s wort was used prenatally. A standard adult dose is 300 mg 2-3 times/day, of a product standardized to 0.3% hypericin.
  • Probiotics: Increasing evidence suggests that disrupted flora can contribute to a disrupted mood, including depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that eating live active cultures such as found in yogurt can improve women’s moods! I extend this to fermented foods in general, such as sauerkraut, kimchee, and miso.  A good probiotic can also do the trick!

Check with your midwife or doctor before using if you are already on a medication or if you have any medical problems related to pregnancy).

10. Call on a Pregnancy Natural Medicine Expert
If after a couple of weeks of incorporating a combination of the above strategies you’re not noticing any improvements, this is a good time to consult with a medical provider who specializes specifically in the functional medicine, naturopathic, integrative, or mental health care of pregnant women. While self-care is the cornerstone of health, greater health challenges can be best addressed with a supportive, knowledgeable team.

Now it’s your turn to share! If you suffered from depression in a past pregnancy, what helped you to cope or heal? What do you wish someone had told you while you were pregnant that you can share as inspiration for other women?

Want to learn more about natural care for yourself during your pregnancy and beyond? You’ll love the down-to-earth nature of The Natural Pregnancy Book, and for after baby – Natural Health After Birth. They also make great gifts for other pregnant women in your life!

With love and compassion,

AJR-Sig

 

 

 

 

References

Benard, A. et al. The risk of major cardiac malformations associated with paroxetine use during the first trimester of pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.doi: 10.1111/bcp.12849.

Freeman, MP. (2009). Complementary and alternative medicine for perinatal depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 112: 1–10.

Hogg K, Price EM, et al. (2012). Prenatal and perinatal environmental influences on the human fetal and placental epigenome. Clin Pharmacol Ther, 92(6):716-26.

Misri, S and S Lusskin. (2013). Depression in pregnant women: Management. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/depression-in-pregnant-women-management?source=see_link

Muzik, M et al. (2012). Mindfulness yoga during pregnancy for psychiatrically at-risk women: Preliminary results from a pilot feasibility study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 18:235-240.

Romm, A. (2014) Uncovering and Treating Depression during Pregnancy. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. In Press.

 

27 Comments

  1. Thank you. I fell into a black depression the last month of my eighth pregnancy. I could not eat or get out of bed. I lost weight. Nothing helped. I was fine until the ninth month and then the thought of giving birth again put me under. The thought of it terrified me. I was planning another home birth but the thought of the pain was to much. She was born with no problems and as soon as I had my baby I was back to my old self. I have never experienced anything so black, deep or dark in my life or in any other pregnancies. It was terrifying and weird. My care providers blew it off and told me it was normal. Not!!! I was afraid my baby would be taken from me if I told them how bad it was. She is 6 months now. I am fine. I just cannot understand what happened to me. It was horrifying for me.

  2. Do you have a piece about depression that spans the whole of pregnancy into post partum and breastfeeding? I’m searching for a way to treat myself naturally with “severe depressive disorder” while breastfeeding. Thanks.

    • Hi Rose
      My book, Natural Health After Birth addressees postpartum depression — and I promise, more blogs to come. All that I share in this article is entirely appropriate to continue after birth! Best wishes for a peaceful transition. Aviva

  3. Care to comment on placenta encapsulation/ingestion? I have seen better results with mothers with anxiety than depression, but I do feel there are some benefits worth exploring if a mother knows she tends to have postpartum mood disorders.

    • Hi Lorrie
      I was actually one of the first authors to ever write about this practice! In fact, there is really no traditional evidence on its use this way — but some women do report it to be very helpful…

  4. Pregnancy depression, especially in the first 3 months, can be caused by high pineal activity and low estrogen expression (these two go together since the pineal reduces estrogen and estrogen receptors.) This occurs more often in women in perimenopause—generally over age 35—because the gradual decrease of the reproductive hormones exaggerates estrogen/progesterone imbalances (both high estrogen and low estrogen women become more of what they are at this time.)

    These woman usually have prementral depression (PMS type D) and sometimes a shorter post menstral depressive phase as well, when they are not pregnant. If the estrogen expression is particularly low, a miscarriage can occur (even though more miscarriages are actually caused by high estrogen.)

    A classic example:
    One woman I worked with had had a miscarriage around 2 months of pregnancy. She had the most horrible depression of her life during this short pregnancy. A week before the miscarriage, the depression magically disappeared overnight. She also lost other signs of pregnancy. When she finally did miscarry a week later, her body never went into normal contractions. After losing the small baby, she continued to bleed and bleed. Finally, going to the ER for the bleeding issue, she learned the placenta had not been expelled—lack of dialation. This makes sense when you consider that estrogen is needed to activate oxytocin (the contraction hormone.)

    This woman was 35 yrs. old at that time and had had other previous births without depression or miscarriages. It was her 1st miscarriage. Since she never did get “the urge to push” in other births, she probably always had an imbalance in this direction, but the severity had increased with her age. She additionally indicated that she had developed depressive PMS, beginning just around that age when she’d miscarried the 1st time.

    After the miscarriage, she had some hormonal tests done. These indicated “normal” estrogen, at the low end of the range. But the test was done on day 21 of her cycle and she had ovulated on day 23 that month, so her levels really should have been higher. Not to mention that her ovulation should have occured earlier in the month, but this often happens when the estrogen levels are not high enough to cause ovulation to occur in a timely manner.

    If a woman with low estrogen expression is able to make it through the 1st trimester, she may begin to feel better. The baby’s placenta startes to produce estrogen and progesterone at that time, so things are likely to improve.

    I have noticed that women with low estrogen expression also tend to have more morning sickness, so that may also explain some of the correlation there.

    Bright light therapy may be useful in these situations b/c the pineal is calmed by light. St. John’s wort has been shown in tests to work as well as BLT, though I have always suggested light, as SJW in pregnancy is still somewhat of an unknown. (I do appreciate the info in the article pertaining to SJW!) Vitamin D is also a useful supplement here as the vit. D also tends to reduce pineal activity AND it tends to be low in the person with high pineal. B12 is another important supplement as it helps to control overactive pineal output. Motherwort (tea not tincture if you wish to avoid provoking early contractions, but add lots of honey to offset the bitterness) is useful to deal with the fear/anxiety that always accompanies this state. Chamomile can be useful here as well. And red raspberry leaf tea is especially usful for the pregnant woman who has low estrogen expression (and she benefits more from it than the high estrogen woman) but she may find it a little binding b/c of its astringent qualities (and her constipation) so it’s best to combine with magnesium or mullein or lemon to reduce that possibility. Magnesium is often in short supply in these persons, so magnesium oil or gel applied topically or ionic magnesium citrate taken internally is often a help and calms nerves. (And oral magnesium may assist with the severe constipation these women generally have, too.)

    Additionally, massage or other touch based therapy is useful. I recommend 1 hr. every week or whatever they can afford to do.

    Of course, it is most useful if the underlying emotional state can be addressed. The woman with low estrogen expression is lacking in expression of the self. She is usually trying to be what she thinks others expect her to be or what she “should” be. This is a person whose own baby-mother connection when she was the baby was not everything she needed. She is often very careful not to be a burden to others, but what she really needs is to be “the baby” for a while. That, of course, requires a “mother” which can be the hard part. (Often her own mother is not able or willing to do this for her.) This is where a skillful therapist and talk therapy can be useful.

    • Wow, thank you for the exceptionally informative comment. The case study example, with the depression, miscarriage, then lack of dilation and retention of placenta with hemorrhage, was exactly what happened to me a few years ago. I’m now 6 weeks pregnant, and it’s wonderful to know there is so much I can do to help this be a healthy, happy pregnancy this go round.

    • Thank you! Much of what you wrote speaks to me directly. I’m 36 years old and am currently 5 weeks pregnant. I have a 3 year old and recently had a miscarriage this past year. I’m experiencing moderate to severe depression and have been looking up natural remedies online when I came across your comment on this post. I will be trying so your suggestions. Again, thank you.

      • Hi Andrea, Doing a long catch up on comments and just came across yours. I hope you are joyfully quite far along in your pregnancy now, and feeling healthy and happy. I hope these suggestions have been of help for you! 🙂 Aviva

  5. I thought I recently read an article stating that taking anti-depressants while pregnant may potentially be linked to having children with autism. Am I mistaken? Many thanks…

  6. Such a great article, thank you!!!
    As far as nutrition, I knew someone with a history of depression who couldn’t take the prenatal because of a gluten sensitivity. Apparently there are gluten free vitamins but she couldn’t afford them. Is it safe to skip the prenatal vitamin (esp if it’s after the early weeks where the neural tube develops) and focus on nutrient dense foods? Any other suggestions?

  7. Gentle osteopathy can help prepare the mum for conception, pregnancy, labor, and post-natal -mum and babe for any birth strains/patterns; bonding issues; depression in mum. ( The latter can be ‘encouraged’ by heavy ‘dragging’ on the body fascias and membranes in a long or difficult, or even fast, birth. And this can upset the delicate balance of hormones, especially those of the pituitary.

    • Various approaches and tecuniques can help osteopathically, from very gentle manipulation to functional tecniques to cranial and or visceral ( osteopathy which works with those tissues within the trunk).

  8. I’m not depressed all of the time but a lot of the time. I work alone 3 days a week and in another boutique 2 days a week with a totally different rythm that is exhausting considering my level of energy since I’m pregnant. Working alone makes me anxious because I get in my head too much, but finding a job in my region is so hard, I don’t want to quit, it’s the only job I found that will get me unemployment insurance and a good amount for my first year with my baby. I’m afraid I will have to back to work after a few months.

    I spent my first month of pregnancy traveling in France with my boyfriend, meeting his friends and family and having a hard time meeting so many people in this short period of time. I came back completely exhausted physically and emotionnallly. My boyfriend’s parents were coming from France for two weeks a few days after our arrival and I had absolutely no interest in spending time with them and sharing my pregnancy with them.

    Since then, I started working 5 days a week, which is more than what I was used to for the last 2 years. Adapting to two different jobs at the same time without telling or talking about my pregnancy got me really tired. Additionnal to that, we have to move because our landlords want to take back the apartment but we haven’t found something interesting for our new needs at a price that we can afford. This is driving me crazy! Not knowing where I will make my nest to welcome my baby and take care of him. It’s one of my biggest stresses at the moment.

    I have stopped eating gluten, dairy products, soy, corn and eggs since I have developed intolerances to all those foods which symptoms were arthritis and inflammation crisis. So cooking has become a nightmare some nights when I’m tired. I have had a lot of food addictions, eating my emotions not to feel anything for at least 15 years, so now I have to cope with those new feelings and not ignored emotions and needs, but still the reflex of going for a certain type of food is there and really hard to resist especially when I’m alone at work since I have a corner store just in front and a delicious bakery with all those gluten-packed pastries!

    My immune system is down because of all those food allergies for years so I have herpes and the Damocles sword up my head reminding me of what will happen if I quit the straight line: caesarean! So I take supplements, omega-3, medicinal plants, vitamins, iron because I’m anemic, etc., etc., … Taking all those supplements is a source of stress too because I always have something to think about and I’m stressed about the consequences if I forget something.

    I’m so tired I have the worst time getting up to go exercise, I just want to sleep. But my sleep is not so good. I work all week-ends so I have almost no social life. I always feel bad about missing everything around since my friends are going. My boyfriend and I don’t have our days off at the same time so we don’t have full days together, only nights. We cannot go on vacation because of that.

    I’m having a really hard time! I’m really happy to be pregnant but what it’s putting me through since the beginning is so stressful and testing my coping skills as you’re saying that I’m having trouble seeing the bright side. And now I know that my depressed mood can cause my baby to have mental problems or me to have a post-partum depression that can cause my baby to have mental problems. I really feel there is no way out!

  9. Can you elaborate on the use of Sam-e? I’m 32 weeks and struggling with depression, my b12 levels are also low which isn’t helping. I bought Sam-e a week ago after reading this article but I’m scared to take it. In chance that it will harm my baby, it says on the bottle not to use while pregnant or breast feeding, although I know a lot of natural remedies have to say that bc of lack if studies. I also read that if your taking Sam-e then to slowly stop before giving birth. Is this true? Sorry for all the questions I’m one anxious mama.

    • I am curious as well. I am trying to get pregnant, and have been happily taking Sam-e since last year for some mild depression (and am much better for it), but my Drs are telling me that I should stop the Sam-e since its safety during pregnancy has not been sufficiently studied. An updated response would be much appreciated!

      • Hi Lisa, Here’s an article you can bring to your docs discussing SAM-e in pregnancy. Doses as high as 1000mg IV (!!!) have been shown to be safe, though there’s been no research on prenatal use for depression. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032708002747
        Here’s a quote from the article.
        SAMe has been used in clinical studies in
        pregnant women for cholestasis in pregnancy. SAMe
        may have a protective role in liver functioning and in the
        treatment of liver diseases. In the AHRQ report on
        SAMe, 8 studies were identified that assessed SAMe for
        cholestasis in pregnancy. Five systematically reported
        tolerability and side effects, without observed side
        effects for mothers or babies (
        AHRQ, 2002
        ).

  10. Thanks for this. I’m 7 weeks with my first and needless to say everyone expects you to be overjoyed. I have an issue with my adrenal gland that I have been treating with the help of my Naturopath for nearly a year, but now I’m pregnant she had me stop taking my supplements and I have been feeling depressed and not wanting to get out of bed. I just have to remind myself that baby steps are necessary, a little more exercise and focusing on my nutrition. I meet with my midwife for the first time tomorrow and I will make sure to mention it to her. Thank for the comprehensive information.

  11. Does anyone have any experience using rosemary tincture for elevating the mood and mental focus during pregnancy. I am in my third trimester, sixth pregnancy. I’ve been using rosemary tincture everyday and have found it very uplifting for the downs.

  12. I think am about 10 days pregnant, and although the test hasn’t come back positive, I’m fairly certain that I am. I’ve had morning sickness and dizziness already and today I’ve had major mood swings and panic attacks. It reminds me of the severe post-partum depression I had last time around. It is scary. I’ve been having trouble with low blood sugar symptoms and feel that something is out of balance. Any idea what I should check for? Is there a way to balance hormones during pregnancy? I was taking Ashwagndha and found relief with it, but stopped taking it a week ago and my body it going crazy. Is it ok to take?

  13. Thank you so much for this helpful post! I am struggling with what I feel is moderate to severe pregnancy depression. I am working through a wonderful e-course from Sheryl Paul (birthing a new mother it’s called, all about the emotional transition into motherhood), doing guided meditation, doing light therapy, trying acupuncture, and trying to stay slightly busy during the day (while still honoring my need to rest most of the day; I’ll usually just do a couple of chores). My concern is that there is some level of gloom that never leaves me. Like no matter how beautiful it is out, I can’t experience the same level of happiness I did before the depression hit. It’s like there’s a major roadblock there. This has me thinking medication is what I will need next (I have a doc appt to talk about meds set up for late March). Pregnancy depression is no joke. It feels like you are stuck, trapped in a fog of sadness that is always there, even when you may glimpse happiness for a second or two. Definitely praying so hard for this to end.

    • Hi Kim!
      I am the nurse practitioner in Dr Romm’s practice, and I often hop in to answer comments and questions since Dr Romm doesn’t always have time to get to them all!
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m glad you have connected with someone to help guide you through this challenging time! Of course if things change for the worse before March, it’s important that you reach out to someone ASAP. Best of luck to you 🙂
      ~amanda

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