Almost half of pregnant women with severe toxicosis suffer from depression – study

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Severe vomiting, loss of energy, feeling unwell around the clock – all of these symptoms during pregnancy can accompany serious depression that requires treatment, according to researchers from the UK.

A group of scientists from Imperial College London conducted a study that showed that doctors grossly underestimate the impact of pregnancy on a woman’s psyche. In scientific work, published in the BMJ Open magazine, 214 pregnant women took part in the first trimester. Half of the participants suffered from symptoms of severe toxicosis – severe vomiting, dehydration, weakness, a constant feeling of malaise, loss of working capacity. The control group included pregnant women who did not have such complaints. The psychological state of all participants was assessed during the first trimester, as well as within 1.5 months after childbirth. However, none of the women were diagnosed with any mental health problems prior to pregnancy.

According to the results of the study, it turned out that 49% of pregnant women who suffered from severe vomiting and other symptoms of toxicosis were diagnosed with depression. Most of them felt so bad that they had to take four or more weeks of leave. At the same time, in the control group, only 6% of women were diagnosed with the same mental disorder. Postpartum depression was later diagnosed in 29% of women with toxicosis, while only 7% of the control group suffered from this condition.

The authors note that in this study, they did not study the relationship between severe toxicosis and the emotional connection of a woman with her unborn child. However, other scientific studies show that the physical condition of a pregnant woman can have a very negative effect on her desire to become a mother. Eight study participants, suffering from toxicosis, terminated the pregnancy, although initially they did not have such plans and they intended to give birth. Some women in this state had thoughts of causing physical harm to themselves.

Scientists believe that doctors who are pregnant should not be limited to treating only the physical symptoms of toxicosis. Evaluation of a woman’s mental health and timely treatment for depression should be the standard, the authors emphasize.


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