Experiencing an unwanted pregnancy might be one of the biggest challenges one may face. Coming to terms with this unplanned event may give an intense emotional dilemma to a woman. This stress may even intensify more when a woman is not in a relationship. This lack of support from a partner sometimes leads to mental health disorders, specifically depression. Hilary S. Connery, M.D., Ph.D. and co-authors say that “Unplanned pregnancies are associated with higher rates of maternal infections, obstetric complications, low birth weight, childhood growth stunting, poor child development, and subsequent child abuse or neglect.”
Depression Caused By Unwanted Pregnancy
For some, pregnancy is one of the happiest happenings in a woman’s life. However, for those women who experience an unwanted pregnancy, this phase might be a time of fear, stress, and confusion. “The pregnant woman may also have worries about the delivery of her baby or about her inadequacy as a mother,” states Amy Kranzler, PhD.
During pregnancy, some women experience antepartum depression. It is caused by the hormone changes which significantly affect the chemicals in the brain. This process usually leads to anxiety and depression. Add to this depression the stress brought about by the unwanted pregnancy, and most likely, these women will face a more serious case of depression.
Women in this challenging phase usually experience the following symptoms for a minimum of 2 weeks:
- Difficulty in concentrating, focusing, and thinking
- Unable to sleep properly
- Persistent sadness
- Regular thoughts of suicide, death, and hopelessness
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
- Panic attacks and anxiety
- Change in eating habits
- Lacking energy
- Feeling irritable most of the time
Steps To Deal With Depression
Anyone who experiences depression might find themselves lost. Hence, knowing the steps to deal with this mental health illness is critical to overcoming this kind of depression.
- One of the most important things is to look for emotional support. This support can be your partners or any family member. Make sure to talk to people that you trust, so it is easier to overcome the sadness and emotional rollercoaster. Joining support groups may also help gain more emotional support.
- Consider counseling. If you are having difficulty in making a decision, seeking help from professional counselors may help. Experiencing unwanted pregnancies sometimes lead to feeling ambivalence and resentment towards the baby. Counseling may guide someone to sort out these feelings.
- Changing some lifestyle factors may also address this mental health problem. These changes include having a healthy diet, reducing stress, engaging in regular exercise, and learning relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga.
- Another treatment includes taking medications, particularly antidepressants. However, you must first consult a professional before trying this kind of approach. Medications have some unwanted effects on newborns like heart problems, physical malformations, low birth weight, and pulmonary hypertension. Hence, individuals should not rely on this kind of approach.
- Herbal remedies also positively affect moods and the hormone serotonin. Pregnant women should seek help from their nutritionists what kind of remedies to take. It is essential to not use these supplements without the go signal of professionals since some remedies clash with other medications taken by pregnant women.
Adenike Bitto, MD and collaborators explain that, “Pregnancy intention connotes the complex process dealing with the desire of an individual or a couple to achieve or avoid conception.” If faced with an unwanted pregnancy, it is essential to take the points above seriously. Engaging yourself with these practices may help overcome the depression you are feeling and figure out the best solution for both you, as a mother, and your baby.