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When struggling with antenatal anxiety or depression, it can be difficult to understand and talk about how you are feeling. To assist this, it is important to identify some of the factors that might be contributing to your depression or anxiety.
Some pregnant women experience some uncertainty about their pregnancy:
- They might be worried that they will experience postnatal depression or anxiety (after birth).
- They might have previously had a traumatic birth, miscarriage or stillbirth and be concerned for their own or their baby’s health.
- Some might also feel guilty about being unhappy because everyone expects it to be the happiest time in one’s life.
- They might also feel uncertain about their new role as mother, fears about carrying the pregnancy, as well how they will cope with labor and delivery.
- Some might worry that the timing is wrong, that career or long-term goals might need to be delayed or that there might be financial problems .
'My partner and I didn’t have to try long at all to conceive, which I feel contributed to my antenatal depression.'
Other contributing factors:
- Family or personal history of anxiety or depression. If depression or anxiety runs in the family, or if you have had past episodes of depression or anxiety, this might increase the chances of developing antenatal anxiety or depression.
- Relationship difficulties. If you or your partner or extended family are experiencing difficulties, this can have a major impact on your emotional well-being.
- Stressful life events. Any major life change, such as a move to a bigger home in anticipation of the baby's arrival, divorce, or job loss, can contribute to anxiety or depression.
- Problems with the pregnancy. A troubled pregnancy such as one that causes severe morning sickness or concerns about the development or well-being of the baby can take its emotional toll, especially if it involves high degrees of monitoring or immobility.
- Family violence. We know that family violence becomes more common during pregnancy. While this can involve physical abuse, it is not always physical. It can also include emotional abuse, yelling, threats of physical abuse, controlling finances or other efforts to exert control. This usually has a negative impact on the emotional and mental well-being of both mum and the unborn baby, as well as any potential physical damage.
- Fertility issues or previous pregnancy loss. If you have experienced difficulties trying to get pregnant, or have had a miscarriage or death of a newborn in the past, it is understandable that you might be worrying about the safety of this pregnancy.
- Past history of abuse. Pregnancy can trigger painful memories for those who have survived emotional, sexual, physical, or verbal abuse.
- Lack of social support. Social isolation can contribute to the possibility of depression or anxiety, and it is important to build a supportive network.
- Financial difficulties. Financial problems can also significantly increase the amount of stress during pregnancy.
"When I first found out I was pregnant, I had already been diagnosed with general anxiety for a little over a year." - Read Samantha's story >