Britney Spears calls perinatal depression ‘absolutely awful’ – who’s at risk?
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified healthcare practitioner before engaging in physical activity or making any changes to your diet, medications, or lifestyle.
For many women, having a baby is a joyful and exciting time. But for women with perinatal depression, it can become extremely difficult and distressing. Perinatal depression refers to depression occurring before and/or after pregnancy, while postpartum depression, another common condition, does not occur until after childbirth.
in a new post on instagram announcing her third pregnancy, Britney Spears revealed to fans that she suffered from perinatal depression during her previous pregnancies with her sons, Sean Preston, now 16, and Jaden James, now 15.
“People ‘didn’t talk about it back then…some people considered it dangerous if a woman complained like that with a baby inside her,” Spears said. wrote of the “absolutely awful” experience. “But now women talk about it every day.”
Although Spears didn’t specify when she suffered from perinatal depression or what her symptoms were, the post resonated with her more than 40 million followers.
“Thank you Jesus, we don’t have to keep this pain a secret,” she added.
Spears isn’t alone in her mental health struggles during pregnancy. Research shows that approximately 1 in 5 people pregnant suffered from perinatal depression, which can lead patients to feel helpless and isolated.
What is perinatal depression?
Perinatal depression is a mood disorder involving feelings of indifference and/or anxiety, extreme sadness, and changes in appetite, sleep, and energy.
According to National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the condition is a serious medical illness that occurs during pregnancy or after childbirth. The general term refers to both prenatal depression (depression occurring during pregnancy) and postpartum depression (depression occurring after childbirth).
This should not be confused with “baby blues” – a condition that does not interfere with a person’s ability to carry out daily activities and lasts for only a week or two. Baby blues symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, and restlessness, but usually go away on their own.
Perinatal depression can be physically and emotionally debilitating and can often last for several months. If you suspect you are suffering from perinatal depression, it is important to seek immediate treatment.
What causes perinatal depression?
According to Cleveland Journal of Medicineperinatal depression is caused by a “complex interaction” of genetic and environmental factors.
Life stresses, such as demands at work or past trauma, the emotional and physical demands of childbirth and caring for a baby, and hormonal changes that occur during and after pregnancy can also contribute to development. perinatal depression.
Who is at risk for perinatal depression?
The NIMH said that “perinatal depression is a real medical illness and can affect any mother, regardless of age, race, income, culture or education”.
Although the disease can affect anyone during or after pregnancy, risk factors include a lack of social support, an unwanted or difficult pregnancy, a persistent health problem with the baby or mother, and a history of violence. physical or sexual. Additionally, women with a personal or family history of anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder are at higher risk.
It is important to note that women are not responsible for perinatal depression: it is not caused by anything that a mother intentionally did or did not do.
What are the symptoms of perinatal depression?
According to American Psychiatric Associationcommon symptoms include feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, lack of interest in the baby, feeling sad or depressed, and thoughts of death or suicide.
Other symptoms include changes in appetite, increased fatigue, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, slowed movement or speech, and feeling like a bad mother.
If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms during and/or after pregnancy, it is important to speak with a health care provider as soon as possible to determine if the symptoms are due to perinatal depression or something else. .
How is perinatal depression treated?
Because perinatal depression is a medical condition, patients should consult with a health care provider or mental health professional to determine appropriate treatment options. This is important for the health of both mother and child, as perinatal depression puts both parties at risk. With proper care, almost all women with perinatal depression can overcome their symptoms.
Treatment options include medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, brain stimulation therapy is another avenue to consider. Additionally, support from friends and family, exercise, rest, good nutrition, and joining a support group for new mothers can be helpful.
Due to stigma around perinatal depression, some people may find it difficult to seek help. Spouses, family members, partners, and friends may be the first to recognize the disease in a new mother and can provide critical emotional support.