According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, perinatal depression affects about 1 in 3 families in South Africa. However, many pregnant women are now more vulnerable to depression due to lockdown restrictions. “All over the world rates of depression and anxiety in pregnant women are rising. Isolation is really a problem. Pregnant women are detached from their support networks – and single moms are particularly at risk for depression at this time,” says specialist psychiatrist Dr Bavi Vythilingum.
She says the coronavirus pandemic is also leading to more pregnant women feeling depressed and anxious during this time. “Moms worry about getting infected and the health of their babies.”
Don’t ignore these signs
- We all have our good days and bad days these days, but if you find yourself feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day, for two weeks, this is a warning sign that something is not right. Get help from your doctor immediately.
- If you’re feeling unmotivated, have a lack of drive and can’t seem to find a little pleasure in things that used to make you happy, get help!
- Anxiety often goes with depression, so if you find yourself feeling anxious all the time, get help.
How to stay connected during this time of social distancing:
- Stay in touch with friends and family with regular phone calls and video calls.
- Join a mommy group on social media. They are great sources of support.
- Take time out to do things that make you feel better, like regular breathing exercises and keeping a gratitude journal.
The lockdown restrictions have us all feeling a little blue at times, but if you’re feeling down and depressed, get help from your healthcare provider as soon as possible, mommy!
More about the expert:
Dr Bavi Vythilingum is a specialist psychiatrist in private practice in Cape Town. She obtained her MMed (Psychiatry) cum laude from Stellenbosch University. She worked at the MRC Anxiety Disorders Research Unit, where her work focused on OCD and Social Anxiety Disorder. She then went on to establish the Women’s Mental Health service at Groote Schuur Hospital. She also ran the Eating Disorder service, and developed the subspecialist degree program in Liaison Mental Health for UCT. Learn more about Dr Bavi Vythilingum here.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.