Untreated depression can hurt you and your baby. Some women with depression have a hard time caring for themselves during pregnancy. They may:
- Eat poorly
- Not gain enough weight
- Have trouble sleeping
- Miss prenatal visits
- Not follow medical instructions
- Use harmful substances, like tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs
Depression during pregnancy can raise the risk of:
- Problems during pregnancy or delivery
- Having a low-birth-weight baby
- Premature birth
Untreated postpartum depression can affect your ability to parent. You may:
- Lack energy
- Have trouble focusing
- Feel moody
- Not be able to meet your child's needs
As a result, you may feel guilty and lose confidence in yourself as a mother. These feelings can make your depression worse.
Researchers believe postpartum depression in a mother can affect her baby. It can cause the baby to have:
- Delays in language development
- Problems with mother-child bonding
- Behavior problems
- Increased crying
It helps if your partner or another caregiver can help meet the baby's needs while you are depressed.
All children deserve the chance to have a healthy mom. And all moms deserve the chance to enjoy their life and their children. If you are feeling depressed during pregnancy or after having a baby, don't suffer alone. Please tell a loved one and call your doctor right away.