Diana Williams, Co-Anchor: A lot of women know about post-partum depression; they are the mood changes that happen after childbirth.
Sade Baderinwa, Co-Anchor: But there is another depression which can happen during pregnancy that may have consequences for mother and baby. Senior Medical Reporter Dr. Jay Adlersberg explains. Jay?
Dr. Jay Adlersberg, Senior Medical Reporter: Sade and Diana, the depression of pregnancy happens to more than 10% of expectant mothers; it can have devastating effects on the newborn, such as low birth weight, irritability, and behavior problems growing up. It’s important for a woman to talk about unusual blue moods with her doctor.
Two-month-old Maria Rose Babrow is as happy as she is beautiful. Happy like her mother Rochelle, until Rochelle became pregnant.
Rochelle Aikens, New Mother: Right as soon as I got pregnant, I just started getting moodier. I was very unhappy with things in my life, you know, and how things were going. So, it was just, it was, like, a drastic change for somebody like me.
Dr. Jay Adlersberg: She became withdrawn, stopped exercising and eating well. Rochelle had the depression of pregnancy.
Dr. Jill Maura Rabin, North Shore LIJ Medical Center: How did you know that you needed to talk to somebody?
Rochelle Aikens: Well, I just knew that I wasn’t feeling right, and that I wouldn’t be healthy if I didn’t, and I was afraid of what might happen to my baby girl if I didn’t talk to somebody.
Dr. Jay Adlersberg: Women may be more self-aware in pregnancy.
Dr. Jill Maura Rabin: People tend to, sometimes, ignore their symptoms of depression and since a woman is concentrating a little bit more on herself, she may—it may be a little harder to ignore.
Dr. Jay Adlersberg: The red flags not to ignore: previous depression or a family history of it; single motherhood; and cigarette smoking, which can reduce oxygen to the mother’s and baby’s brains.
What can trigger depression during pregnancy? Stress, such as loss of family support, or loss of health insurance, a new medical diagnosis such as high blood pressure or diabetes, and physical abuse by a spouse, especially if there’s a history of abuse.
Depressed moms may stop prenatal doctor visits, or stop taking vitamins; the fetus can be put at risk, and medications for depression may be less risky than allowing depression to continue.
Dr. Jill Maura Rabin: Nothing is risk-free; you want to make sure to take the best possible care of you and your baby and your other children, and not to be in a position where you may endanger your family.
Dr. Jay Adlersberg: Moms to be should discuss unusual blue moods with their OB/GYNs, though Dr. Rabin says she works closely with a psychiatrist or a psychologist to treat her patients. Talk therapy sometimes can be enough, and medications may not always be necessary. Michelle’s depression cleared immediately after delivery. Sade, Diana?
Diana Williams: Good for her.
Sade Baderinwa: That’s good news.
Diana Williams: Thank you, Jay.