Depression in pregnancy can reoccur in later life

About a third of the women that suffer depression while they are pregnant also end up suffering from suicidal thoughts later in life, according to a new survey that was conducted by parenting website Netmums and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

The survey looked at 260 mothers that suffered from depression while pregnant and found that these mothers had a higher risk of severe mental health problems down the road versus women that only suffer from postnatal depression. It also discovered that only about a quarter of woman that report experiencing depression symptoms actually treat aid from their GP.

Antenatal depression, depression that occurs during pregnancy, is not as recognized as postnatal depression but experts are warning that there needs to be more awareness as it is potentially a much larger problem. Over a half of the women suffered problems during their first pregnancy but a stunning increase of two-thirds of the women reported problems during their second pregnancy.

Almost 40% of the women in the survey reported that they had suicidal thoughts at some point in their pregnancy or directly afterwards. Another 80% that reported depression symptoms while pregnant also reported that they suffered from postnatal depression after the child was born. About half of the survey respondents felt that the illness was impacting their relationship with their child.

Only about 22% of the women in the survey asked their GP for help once they realised that they were not up to par, while another 40% chose to instead turn to their partner or husband first before seeking out help. A third of the women turned to their midwife for support when they started to experience problems with depression. This past May the Government pledged to improve maternity services with the intent to help women that suffer from postnatal depression.