Depression and morning sickness – both during and after pregnancy – are similar sickness for many women who’ve had children.
As per the latest study, severe morning sickness is directly related to depression.
Between 0.5 and 2 percent of pregnant women experience HG.
“Our study shows that women with HG are around eight times more likely to suffer antenatal depression and four times more likely to have postnatal depression,” Dr. Nicola Mitchell-Jones, a specialist registrar in OB-GYN at Imperial College and study lead author, said in a release.
Two experts interviewed by Healthline say the results are not particularly surprising and that the study underlines the need for pregnant women and people in their support system to keep tabs on their mental health.
A COMMON EXPERIENCE
Dr. Melissa Goist is an assistant professor of OB – GYN at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, said Healthline women who are going through pregnancy experience some form of morning sickness, which can actually occur anytime during the day or night, while a smaller subset experiences HG.
She also quoted that depression is not unusual.
“Depression is quite common, affecting 15 to 25 percent of women during either pregnancy or the post-delivery time period,” she said. “The percentage is broad due to the difficulty in making the diagnosis, as many women try to hide these feelings, worried they may be looked at differently.”
A woman’s experience during pregnancy can often carry over into the post-delivery period, says Dr. Jennifer Wu, an OB-GYN at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
“I think a hard pregnancy can result in a harder entry into motherhood. Some women sail through pregnancy easily and they are well-rested and slept well, then they have a newborn and cope really well with it,” Wu told Healthline. “But if you’ve had severe hyperemesis and had a difficult pregnancy, then you can start motherhood feeling overwhelmed.”
Getting a hold on it
Depression is often overlooked, which can compound problems down the line.
“If we can foresee problems for the mother or the baby, and try to get on them early, I think the results are always much better,” she explained. “For something like postpartum depression, if you have an indication that the mom will be at increased risk, and you get her counseling and therapy and possibly medication very early on in the process, it’ll be a much milder course of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is one of those things that, if left untreated, can get really bad.”
Pregnant women and their partners, friends, or others in their support system, should recognize the signs of depression. Wu notes that it may take the form of mild sadness or might manifest itself in days of crying.
Open communication with a doctor, followed by an appointment with a therapist, is a way to get a handle on depression — during or after pregnancy. From there, it can be determined what the next steps could be.
“Sometimes, therapy is all that’s needed,” said Wu. “But a small percentage of patients will need actual medication for depression, so they may see a psychiatrist who could prescribe the right medication for them and follow their medication dosages.”
As with everything else related to pregnancy, it’s critical to keep your doctor in the loop, says Wu.
“Many women, when they get pregnant, expect to have morning sickness,” she said. “They really should let their doctor know how they’re feeling and what’s going on because sometimes we have patients who’ve been having very bad hyperemesis, and they call us when things are really dire — like they haven’t kept food or water down for half a day. At that point, we have to hospitalize them, because they are in a very bad situation.”