Morning Sickness During Pregnancy May be a Sign of Depression

hyperemesis gravidarum
Image: Anastasia_Makarevich from Pixabay

Morning sickness is one of the most common issues faced by women during the period of pregnancy and even after it is over. While the condition is considered normal to an extent, in some cases it may reach an extreme stage. When this happens, the issue is known as hyperemesis gravidarum or HG.

Hyperemesis gravidarum in women is characterized by extreme nausea and vomiting. Those who are diagnosed with this condition can find it difficult to digest food and which may increase the chances of developing complications and also lead to nutritional deficiencies as the body is not getting the required amount of nutrients it needs on a daily basis.

According to research, around 0.5 to two percent of pregnant women experience hyperemesis gravidarum. Although the percentage seems low initially, experts have noted that the issue is rising, especially among younger women. This is a cause of concern as it may keep a pregnancy from being healthy.

In addition, researchers have also noted that the condition can affect both the physical and mental health of women. In fact, a new study conducted by researchers from Imperial College London shows that having HG can increase the risk of developing mental health issues including depression both during pregnancy as well as after it.

Read the study here. 

The researchers reached this conclusion after examining a trial consisting of around two hundred pregnant women. Out of the two hundred participants, around fifty percent were diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum. All of the women with HG were more likely to be depressed in comparison with women who did not have it.

During the time period of the study, fifty percent of the women with HG had symptoms of depression during the pregnancy and twenty-nine percent of the women developed the disorder after pregnancy.

On the other hand, one six percent of the women without HG had depression during pregnancy and seven percent experienced it after the end of pregnancy.

The leading investigator of the study and an OB-GYN specialist, Dr. Nicola Mitchell-Jones explained that the findings of the study show that women with HG are eight times higher risk of developing antenatal depression as well as four times increased chances of having postnatal depression too.

Read also: Gender Gap in Clinical Trials is Harming Women’s Health 

According to the researchers, mental health issues such as depression during pregnancy is actually very common in women. As many as twenty-five percent of women show signs of depression both during and after pregnancy. However, the problem arises because of the stigma attached to seeking help for combating depression.

Women who seek professional help and have support from their family, friends, and partners can help manage the condition and keep it from affecting other parts of their life as well as their health and their offspring’s health.

Out of all the factors, doctors recommend having support especially from partners during pregnancy as that makes the biggest difference. Communication and being able to talk about problems and feelings can help in overcoming depression and the prevention of long-term health issues.

About the author

Abeera I. Kazmi

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