Am I depressed or just feeling down?

It’s common to feel more emotional than usual during pregnancy because of hormone changes. But it’s important to ask for help if you are feeling sad more than you are feeling happy.

Pregnancy can be an emotional time, so some signs of depression, such as anxiety, are also common when you’re pregnant. But you may have antenatal depression if you feel sad for a long time, or have negative feelings that won’t go away or are too much to cope with.

Common signs of depression include feeling:

  • down most of the time
  • uninterested in or avoid doing things you usually enjoy
  • extremely tired
  • tearful a lot of the time
  • irritable
  • like you want to avoid people you usually want to spend time with
  • restless and agitated
  • worthless
  • guilty
  • hopeless or helpless
  • anxious or worried
  • like you’re not looking forward to the future.

It can be really difficult to accept that you’re feeling low at a time when everyone expects you to feel happy and excited. But feeling down or depressed during your pregnancy is nothing to be ashamed of. Depression in pregnancy is actually very common, so you are not alone. Around one in every ten pregnant women has depression.

Talk to your midwife or GP if you’re feeling low for more than a couple of weeks. They can help you find ways to look after your emotional health. You may also find our tips for improving mental wellbeing in pregnancy helpful.

If they think you are depressed they can help you get some extra help. Depression can be treated, so try not to worry too much. There are things that can be done to help you feel better.

Sources

NHS Choices. Low mood and depression https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/low-mood-and-depression/#whats-the-difference-between-low-mood-and-depression (Page last reviewed: 04/01/2016. Next review due: 04/01/2019)

Clinical Knowledge Summaries (2015) Depression antenatal and postnatal https://cks.nice.org.uk/depression-antenatal-and-postnatal#!topicsummary

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Last reviewed on October 11th, 2015. Next review date October 11th, 2021.

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