“That’s Why They Call ‘Em the Blues”
It’s the happiest time of your life. You finally got the positive pregnancy test, you’ve cleaned out the back office to make a nursery and you’ve even picked out baby names, but for some reason you feel totally bummed.
Being sad or even depressed during pregnancy is very normal. Your body is literally creating life. You’re hormone levels are through the roof and you’re wondering how a baby is ever going to come out, well you know, there!
Let me tell you about my personal experience with sadness during my pregnancy. I often felt guilty because I knew I was going through something so wonderful but often felt so upset. I was pregnant in Phoenix and my entire family lives on the east coast. It killed me to think I was going to have and raise this baby away from my family. It kept me up at night, crying and sleepless. I lost my job in my first trimester because of how sick I was. (I worked in a café, not a place to have a weak stomach and a heightened sense of smell.) My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, did what he could to help me out with keeping me busy and out of the house but sometimes it was hard. I hated sitting around the house being left to feel bad about my family so far away or wondering how I will ever survive labor. I decided it was time to do something about it.
In my second trimester my doctor started me on a very low dose of an anti-anxiety that is approved for pregnancy. It helped, I wasn’t really staying up all night anymore but I needed something else. I went to Target and picked up a yoga DVD designed for pregnancy. I loved it. The 30 minutes a day of stretching and meditation really helped put my mind at ease. Any type of exercise will help, whether it’s going for a brisk walk or taking Zumba at the gym, this movement will release endorphins into the body helping to make you happier.
Eating right will help with anxiety and depression as well. Vitamin C has been shown to help with mood enhancement as well as Vitamin B12 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. All of these nutrients are vital during pregnancy and can definitely help boost your mood. Citrus, red bell peppers, broccoli and brussel sprouts are all great sources of Vitamin C. Vitamin B12 can be consumed by eating animal products, fortified foods or supplements. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are readily found in salmon, tuna and flax seeds.
Cutting down caffeine to almost nothing really helped me as well. It is recommended you have no more than 200 mg of caffeine a day while you are pregnant. I drink about 300mg of a caffeine a day on average and cut it down to about 75mg during pregnancy. Not only did the lesser caffeine help with my mood it helped keep away some of the jitters at night. Sadly, nothing helped my restless leg syndrome or sleepless nights after about 30 weeks but continuing to meditate, exercise, eat right and cutting out caffeine definitely improved my mood.
If you feel like you can’t take control of your depression while you are pregnant you should definitely see your doctor. Womenshealth.gov says, sadness is normal during pregnancy but if you are experiencing hopelessness, headaches, withdrawal from family and friends, memory problems and/or sleeping/eating too much or too little be sure to make an appointment right away. Some medicines are not safe to take while pregnant so never self-medicate or take something just because it was safe prior to pregnancy. Your doctor may also suggest counseling or therapy if you are having a hard time dealing with your mood. Don’t feel guilty for these feelings, unfortunately for some, it’s just part of the journey.
*Remember, I am not a doctor; these suggestions are what helped me after doing extensive research on this topic. Always consult your doctor before starting a new diet or exercise plan since no one plan fits every one.*
*If you feel as if you may hurt yourself or someone else please, call 911 or get to the hospital right away. Never take any chances.*