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Happy Mommy = Healthy Baby

Mood swings are common during pregnancy. However, if you are pregnant and your mood is affecting your eating and sleeping patterns, you might be suffering from depression — a medical condition that can affect the development of your baby.

Approximately 10 to 15 percent of women in the United States experience depression during pregnancy, according to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Evidence shows poor maternal mental health, low birth weight and stunted childhood development may be related.

“Women who are depressed while pregnant tend to not take care of themselves as much as they should and, therefore, suffer from various symptoms,” says Syed M. Quadri, M.D., adult and child psychiatrist and medical director of the Adolescent Program at Texas Health Springwood Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford. “These can include poor eating and sleeping habits, which can cause complications — such as preterm birth and gestational hypertension or preeclampsia. By educating themselves, however, women can help to prevent poor maternal mental health during pregnancy and keep their unborn babies safe and healthy.”

Women need to educate themselves and be aware of both physical and emotional changes that can take place during and after pregnancy.

“Texas Health Springwood Hospital offers a counseling center for pregnant women in need of emotional support,” says Quadri. “Here, they can learn techniques to help them cope in a comfortable, professional environment through individual and group therapy. Medication also may be prescribed if therapy is not effective.”

For more information about the Springwood Program for Women at a Texas Health Springwood facility near you, visit TexasHealth.org/springwood or call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355). (Spring 2009)

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