Pre/Post Natal Depression

Pre/postnatal depression are serious, negative emotional changes that last longer than 2 weeks and stop you from doing things you need or want to do in your daily life. Pre/postnatal depression are more than the emotional changes you might expect during pregnancy and after birth.


Listed below are some symptoms you may experience. These symptoms should last for more than 2 weeks.

Emotional changes

  • In a low mood most of the time
  • Low confidence
  • Often feel worried about your baby or yourself
  • Feel scared and panicky
  • Feel angry or cranky
  • Feel overwhelmed
  • Fear being alone or going out
  • fear being alone with your baby

Thinking changes

  • Think that you are worthless or a failure
  • Think your baby would be better off with someone else
  • Think ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I can’t cope’
  • Have trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Think that your baby does not love you


Behaviour and social changes

  • Lose interest in activities you normally enjoy
  • Find it hard to get moving
  • Struggle with everyday tasks
  • Withdraw from close family and friends
  • Not taking care of yourself
  • Too much/too little sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Low energy levels

Risk factors

Some women are more at risk for depression during and after pregnancy: 

  • Mother's personal history of depression or another mental illness (largest overall risk factor)
  • Family history of depression or another mental illness
  • Lack of support from family and friends
  • Anxiety about the pregnancy
  • Problems with previous pregnancy or birth
  • Marriage or money problems
  • Stressful life events
  • Pregnancy at a young age
  • Substance use disorders
  • Family violence


Minority, immigrant, and refugee populations are especially at risk, because they face the added stress of adjusting to and learning to function in a new environment without as much local family support and with added financial concerns or cultural barriers.


While these risk factors help identify those more likely to develop perinatal depression, any woman can be affected during pregnancy or in the year following childbirth. 


There are many treatment options that can help you if you’re experiencing symptoms of prenatal or postnatal depression. Listed below are some treatment options for antenatal and postnatal depression. For many people, medicine used together with psychological therapy can work very well.

   Psychological therapy

Psychological treatments for antenatal and postnatal depression include cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT). These therapies aim to help you manage feelings of depression and anxiety.


Doctors sometimes recommend antidepressant medicine for prenatal and postnatal depression. There are many different types of antidepressants, including some that you can safely use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Coping mechanisms

Listed below are some practical strategies to help.

   Emotional support

Getting emotional support from your partner, family and friends is an important way to cope with prenatal and postnatal depression. Talking to someone who can understand how you’re feeling can help you to manage some of the symptoms.

A birth class, parent group, playgroup or therapy group can be another source of emotional support. At these groups you can meet other people to share your experiences with.

   Help at home

If you’re at home while you’re pregnant or with your new baby, it's good to ask someone you trust to be with you regularly and help with baby care or any household chores. Help at home gives you a chance to rest, sleep or do something relaxing.

   Looking after yourself

  • Get regular exercise 
  • Eat well 
  • Try to manage your stress
  • Get enough rest


Watch the video to find out more!

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