Depression is a very daunting illness to deal with, even for the strongest of people. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and often, the two are connected, i.e., both affect each other. In fact, some studies show us how morning sickness and depression can be connected.
As we are familiar with morning sickness being a condition most often affecting pregnant women, the focus of the article will be on them. Morning sickness can be defined as feeling nauseated during the period of pregnancy.
It is a very common thing to experience, with experts believing that approximately 90% of women go through it.
Morning sickness also leads to vomiting in most cases as well. It is ironic that just calling it morning sickness doesn’t actually confine the horrid feeling to mornings only; it can happen at any time of the day or night. We should consider renaming it!
It is most often started around the 4th week of the pregnancy, and in most cases, it goes away by the 20th week.
How is Morning Sickness Related to Depression?
It goes without saying that constantly feeling the urge to throw up or retching every now and then is a rather unpleasant experience. Surely it would distress anyone who goes through it.
But depression is a very serious condition, and the word should not be thrown around lightly to define sad or negative feelings.
That being said, research does tell us that there is a connection between morning sickness and depression. It is still, however, not known whether morning sickness leads to depression or vice versa.
There is a form of morning sickness that affects only a handful of pregnant women (only about 3%) and is very rare, called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).
HG and Depression
Though the exact cause of HG is not known by science as of now, there are a few indicators that it might affect a pregnant woman.
- This is your first pregnancy.
- You experienced it in the first pregnancy.
- It has happened to members of the family.
- You are pregnant with more than one baby.
- You are overweight.
- You suffer from migraines.
If you are vomiting multiple times a day, every day, you are dropping your weight excessively, and you feel dehydrated, there is a very good chance it is HG, so go and see your doctor as soon as possible.
Research shows women with HG are eight times more likely to go through depression during their pregnancies and four times as likely to still suffer from it after giving birth (postpartum depression).
HG is a severe form of morning sickness that can be attributed to causing depression in pregnant women because of a variety of reasons.
Women with HG often feel very isolated because they avoid going out too much for fear of their constant urge to vomit. This feeling of loneliness can trigger a fall into depression.
Many women also have been known to feel guilty for suffering from HG because they cannot spend time with or take care of their families. So their horrid morning sickness leads to depression because they feel responsible for not being able to function properly.
Because HG is so severe, working women have to either take very long leaves or they have to quit their jobs. This is a very demotivating experience because work is a very big part of people’s lives.
In most cases of HG, women have to be bedridden to conserve their energy with excessive weight loss and dehydration. Not being able to do anything other than lying in your bed can feel very difficult, so morning sickness can also contribute to pangs of depression.
Symptoms of Depression by Morning Sickness
Keep in mind that morning sickness leads to both mental as well physical consequences. Here is how you can keep an eye out for morning sickness causing depression:
- Feeling sad a lot.
- Losing interest in your favorite activities.
- Loss of appetite.
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Difficulty in thinking or feeling indecisive.
- Feeling you are worthless.
- Feeling tired of being alive.
Why Depression during Pregnancy must be treated
Any person suffering from depression should be treated regardless, especially pregnant women. The reason is that if it is ignored, the depression may continue well after the birthing process.
Postpartum depression makes it very difficult for the mother to take care of her child because she finds it very difficult to connect.
Even during the antenatal phase of the pregnancy, severe morning sickness leading to depression and other health problems is problematic because it not only puts the mother’s condition at risk but is also not very healthy for the child.
A dehydrated and underweight woman would not be able to sustain a healthy pregnancy should she not be regulated by doctors. HG is not a condition that should be brushed off; it requires immediate medical attention.
Pregnancy is nothing short of a miracle. Women have been bestowed with an unimaginable amount of strength. Childbirth is a beautiful part of a person’s life, but it is extremely difficult from start to finish.
Moreover, adding morning sickness into the mix makes the experience all the more challenging. It is always advisable to be there for pregnant women at all times as friends, families, or health care professionals.
Whether HG causes depression or depression leads to HG, we know for a fact that the two are connected. It is vital to make sure depression does not take over a pregnant woman, and if it does, proper treatment should be ensured. We cannot stop depression from affecting a person’s life. What we can do is help them through it. If you are a pregnant woman suffering from morning sickness and depression, or you know of one, please reach out to people around you, especially healthcare professionals.