Seasonal Depression Disorder During Pregnancy: Symptoms & Tips
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), most commonly known as Seasonal Depression, affects over 10 million people a year. If you have ever experienced it, you understand its effects and how hard it can be to push yourself through the winter. Some people joke about this and blame their laziness on it, but it is not a laughing matter. Suffering from Seasonal Depression is already a battle, but adding in a pregnancy throughout the same timeframe can really hit you hard.
Technically, a doctor will not diagnose SAD until you have experienced the symptoms throughout the same season for three consecutive years, but I’ll tell you from experience that it doesn’t take but one season to really know that you have it.We have lived in the southeast our entire lives, and then moved to Northern Virginia in January. The first few months were fun, as we had never lived in snow before. But the following winter hit me hard. I didn’t want to socialize, was tired, grumpy, just all around miserable. I had no idea what seasonal depression even was, seeing as how my Christmases have always been spent on a beach. Vitamin D has been in ample supply my entire life, until winter in the “North.” And while, I did experience SAD in Virginia, it was nothing compared to what's already hitting me here in the mid-west, where we were recently relocated to. I started feeling better the same time our flowers began to bloom in the spring during our stay in Virginia. I started researching and realized that it wasn’t just a funk, but actual depression that had beaten me down. And now we are in the middle of the country, just now feeling the effects of winter. A new friend I have made here is a few months pregnant and was telling me just how awful she's been feeling. It lead me to this article...
Fighting the Winter Blues While PregnantSymptoms linked only to SAD (not full depression):
- Depression: misery, guilt, loss of self-esteem, hopelessness, despair, and apathy
- Anxiety: tension and inability to tolerate stress
- Moodchanges: extremes of mood, especially dealing with rejection
- Sleep problems: desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake or, sometimes, disturbed sleep and early morning waking
- Irritability: Cranky feelings towards others
- Lethargy: feeling of fatigue and inability to carry out normal routine
- Feeling Heavy: The arms and legs feel heavier and harder to utilize
- Overeating, Appetite Changes, and Weight Gain: craving for starchy and sweet foods resulting in weight gain
- Socialproblems: irritability and desire to avoid social contact
- Sexualproblems: loss of libido and decreased interest in physical contact
- Bonding and Attachment problems when baby is born
- Addiction or Substance Abuse
- Postpartum Depression
- Low Birth Weight for baby
- Gestational Diabetes
- Premature Birth
- Low APGAR Score
- Health Problems for baby
- Regular exercise is a powerful way to fight seasonal depression, especially if you’re able to exercise outside in natural daylight. Source
- Regular exercise can boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals. In fact, exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication.
- Exercise can also help to improve your sleep and boost your self-esteem.
- Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days. Even something as simple as walking a dog, for example, can be good exercise for you and the animal, as well as a great way to get outdoors and interact with other people.
- Vitamin D: Multiple studies and ample research all prove that VitaminD drops drastically during the fall and winter months. With this drop, the body’s immune system is at risk for illness, major depression, and seasonal affective disorder. Vitamin D helps boost mood, the immune system and heart health. Supplementing with Vitamin D is needed by everyone, not just those at risk for winter blues.
- Omega 3: Studies show that Omega 3 is beneficial in the treatment of depression.