Depression And Anxiety | Fit Pregnancy

Depression And Anxiety

When The Going Gets Tough

It's going to be a long one this week, ladies, because I know this is going to hit home for a lot of you. A reader, I'll call Claire, sent me the most heart-breaking email. She has the toughest time with vaginal exams. Though she prepares herself as best she can, she's totally traumatized, has panic attacks and cries whenever she has to get "checked." She thinks she's the only woman in the world who feels this way and worries about all those cervical exams that come toward the end of pregnancy at her prenatal visits.

Not Feeling the Glow?

Suzanne Kerns has just finished her first trimester, a time she’d always thought would be radiantly happy. Instead, the 28-year-old psychology student from Columbia, S.C., finds herself feeling sick, tired and blue. “I wanted so much for it to be a happy time but it’s not,” she says. What has made it particularly difficult, Kerns adds, is other people’s enthusiasm. “Friends get so excited when you tell them the news, but you don’t respond the same way—after all, you have just finished throwing up,” she says. “It produces so much guilt.”

Test Anxiety

Routine prenatal screening tests can understandably cause expectant parents a good amount of worry. But it’s reassuring to know that despite the possibility of scary results, the vast majority of pregnancies end in the birth of a healthy baby.


Pregnant women are notorious worriers. They fret over prenatal tests, maternity leave, baby names, labor, sleeping arrangements for their new arrival, child care, even food cravings. But generally their biggest worry is whether they’ll have a healthy baby. Not to worry. The odds are sky-high that when your child is born, she’ll be the picture of good health. But you can push those odds even higher by taking good care of yourself before and during pregnancy.

Seek help for excessive prenatal anxiety


Perhaps it can, according to two recent studies. A British survey of more than 14,000 moms found that babies born to women who were deemed clinically anxious during pregnancy were 40 percent more likely to have such sleep problems as trouble falling asleep or waking too early at 6, 18 and 30 months of age.

From Bliss to the Blues

Trang Burnett describes herself as rational and not prone to knee-jerk emotional reactions. Yet, when the Tampa, Fla., mother was pregnant with now-2-year-old son Bryson, all bets on her moods were off. "TV commercials really affected me—happy or sad, they always made me cry," recalls Burnett, 36.

Sound familiar? While pregnant, you will experience a gamut of emotions—many of which may be completely new to you. After delivery, the emotional roller coaster ride continues.

Emotions About Pregnancy


Indirectly, perhaps. Research suggests that birth outcomes can be influenced by whether a woman's pregnancy was wanted, unwanted or "mis-timed" or if she simply felt ambivalent about it. Women with unwanted pregnancies were more likely to deliver preterm, and ambivalence increased the odds of having a preterm or low-birth-weight baby. Women whose pregnancies were wanted but "mis-timed" were less likely to have a low-birth-weight baby. Expectant women should seek the emotional care and support they need, advises study author Anshu Mohllajee, M.P.H., of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Antidepressants During Pregnancy


It's possible. Researchers have found evidence that prenatal use of at least one antidepressant--Paxil--increases the risk of congenital heart malformation. Other studies have found associations between late-pregnancy use of antidepressants and short-term complications in newborns, including jitteriness and respiratory distress. But not treating a mother's severe depression can also harm the fetus.

IVF Linked To Depression

Undergoing fertility treatment is stressful enough, but women who conceive via in vitro fertilization (IVF) might have more tough times ahead once they become moms. While only 1.5 percent of women in the general population undergo IVF, Australian researchers found that 6 percent of women who sought help for postpartum depression and early-parenting problems had conceived using this method. Women who get pregnant with IVF should be forewarned that they could need additional support after delivery.

Colic Linked to Postpartum Depression

One in three women with inconsolable babies reports feeling depressed, says research on nearly 3,000 new moms. "I see a lot of fussy babies," says researcher Pamela High, M.D., a clinical professor of pediatrics at Brown Medical School in Providence, R.I., "and the mothers are worried, anxious, tired and depressed." High's study is the first to establish a link between colic and postpartum depression in a demographically diverse group of women. She advises a new mom to recruit others to help, and to set aside time every day to be off-duty.