October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Grieving the loss of a baby is one of the most difficult things a person can go through. Many women experience depression after pregnancy and infant loss.

If you’ve experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, giving yourself time to grieve is essential. Grief is a natural response to loss, and there is no “right” way to grieve. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, or a mental health professional. Women who experience a loss during pregnancy, birth, or after delivery are at higher risk of developing depression. If you’re feeling down, anxious, or have any other symptoms of depression after a loss, it’s vital that you reach out for help, especially if the symptoms persist and impact your ability to function day to day.

You have many options to choose from when it comes to treatment for perinatal loss, including therapy, medication, support groups, and now Personalized Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (PrTMS). PrTMS is a holistic treatment now offered through MindSet by Serene Health- that can restore balance and correct brainwave disruptions caused by depression.

mental health

How pregnancy and infant loss can affect mental health

A woman who has a miscarriage is at a higher risk for depression. Research also suggests that when depression occurs after a miscarriage, it can last for 1 to 3 years. Women and their partners who experience stillbirth have higher rates of anxiety and depression, and other mental health symptoms that can also last for years afterward. There is also still a lot of stigma surrounding stillbirth and neonatal deaths.

In many cultures, stillbirths are blamed on the mother, and the subsequent guilt or shame often prevents time to grieve and get mental health treatment if necessary. Many women who experience pregnancy loss or stillbirth may socially isolate themselves to avoid being reminded of their loss, which could exacerbate symptoms of depressionEven after the birth of a healthy child, women who suffer pregnancy or infant loss are typically more prone to depression during subsequent pregnancies.

Is there a difference between grief and depression after pregnancy or infant loss?

Grief is a response to an event that, though difficult, is natural. Losing a baby, for example, elicits grief in most people. In contrast, depression and anxiety are diseases that frequently require treatment from a professional. By itself, grief does not always necessitate treatment. Sometimes, all it requires is support and understanding from the right people and time and space to heal.

Grief can become complicated, and it has the potential to make pre-existing mental conditions worse, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Anyone who has lost a baby and was previously diagnosed with a mental health condition should make their doctor aware of this information. In addition, knowing the difference between grief and depression and when to seek help is also important.

Signs of Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression typically last for two weeks or more and can consist of:

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • Feeling sad 24/7

  • Isolating

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Struggling to remember things

  • Frequent bouts of anger and irritation

  • Insomnia or extreme fatigue

  • Drastic changes in appetite or weight

  • Engaging in self-harm

  • Suicidal ideation or attempts

It is important to remember that there is not a two-week timeframe for grief, and many of these symptoms will overlap. What’s important is that you seek treatment to prevent your symptoms from getting worse.

Treating depression after pregnancy and infant loss

If you are experiencing depression after pregnancy or infant loss, several treatment options are available.

Medication: Antidepressants can be an effective treatment for depression. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider about any potential risks and benefits.

Counseling: Talking to a therapist can help you work through your feelings and develop coping strategies. If you are struggling with depression, your healthcare provider can refer you to a therapist or counselor.

Support groups: Support groups are often available for parents who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. These groups can provide emotional support and allow you to connect with others who have had similar experiences.

How depression affects the brain

Depression can affect how people think, feel, and behave. People with depression may have a more challenging time concentrating and remembering things. They may be more angry and irritable than usual and not sleep well. People with depression can also feel very sad all the time.

These symptoms are the result of changes in the brainwaves.

Depression affects the brain in a number of ways. It can change how people process information and make decisions. Depression can also affect the way people think about themselves and their lives.

Like major depression, postpartum or depression caused by perinatal loss is associated with abnormal nerve activity in certain areas of your brain, causing a Brain Arrhythmia- an irregular brainwave pattern.

PrTMS is a safe, non-invasive treatment that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the nerves and restore normal neuronal activity, known as neuromodulation.

How PrTMS can help with depression

Personalized Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (PrTMS) is a type of neuromodulation that can be customized to target specific areas of the brain. It aims to restore balance and repair disturbances in brainwaves, which may contribute to various illnesses, including postpartum depression. As your brainwaves become balanced, your depression improves!

If you are struggling with depression after pregnancy or infant loss, please seek help from a healthcare professional. Treatment is available and can make a world of difference. You are not alone. MindSet by Serene Health offers PrTMS in a caring environment fostering your journey to mental wellness. To learn more about PrTMS and how it can help you, please call 844-737-3638 or visit www.serenehealth.com.

Serene Health also offers a wide range of behavioral health and mental health services, as well as flexible appointments through our Telehealth platform. You’ll be able to speak to a therapist online from the comfort of your home. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to contact us today to book an appointment.