A new study has revealed that an increasing number of women are developing depression while they are pregnant due to the growing expectations of motherhood. Last year alone, 20,000 pregnant women reported some form of mental health complaint before they gave birth - this is more than three times the number compared to just four years ago.
Research has showed that up to one in seven women develop prenatal depression which can range from mild anxiety through to compulsive behaviours such as excessive hand-washing. These figures mean that it is now as common as postnatal depression yet the condition still isn’t as widely recognised by doctors and midwives.
It is thought that two of the main reasons for the rise in depression during pregnancy include the fact that doctors are now better at detecting mental health problems on the whole but also that more and more women are struggling with the pressure they face to juggle a career, cope with the financial burdens and still be the perfect mother.
Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Advisor at NCT commented:
“Women are having to plan their maternity leave and when they go back to work. Not all employers are very sympathetic and we are aware women delay telling colleagues and their managers that they are pregnant and struggle when they are not feeling well. They go on working until the last minute which can leave them not having enough time to rest and make emotional preparations.”
Louise Silverton, Director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives also highlighted that there is so much more pressure on mums-to-be now than there used to be. Nowadays pregnant women are constantly being told what they should and shouldn’t be eating and doing and furthermore, they also undergo a lot more scans compared to 30 years ago which can make them feel more nervous.
If you would like more information about depression please check out our Depression Knowledge Centre. To get help with depression, you can take a look at our depression treatment pages or contact us today.