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Is There a Link Between Depression and Pre-term Births?

Around 12% of babies born in the United States are born prematurely, or before 37 weeks of gestation.

Being born early can have some serious consequences for these babies who can face many medical and mental problems. New research suggests that there may be a link between maternal depression and premature births. The reasons for such a link are not really clear at this time however.

Depression during pregnancy tends to be a taboo topic I think because it seems as if everyone expects for you to be happy when you are pregnant. Because of this, many women are reluctant to admit that they are struggling when they are pregnant. In addition, I know of women who have been on depression medicine before they were pregnant and suddenly stop their meds when they find out they are pregnant because they worry about the effects of medication on their unborn child.

I don’t think that this research means that you need to panic if you struggle with depression and you are pregnant. What I think this says is that moms need to take care of themselves during pregnancy. If you are depressed, ask for help, and don’t struggle in silence. If you have been on medication prior to conceiving, talk with your doctor before stopping your medications. There are medications that can be taken during pregnancy with little risk to your child.

When women are pregnant, they must put up with all sorts of discomforts that are just part of the pregnancy package. Pregnancy induced discomforts will fade when the baby is born, but depression isn’t one of those things. Don’t endure your depression; get help for your sake and the sake of your child.

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