by Lesley Carter

You may find that your partner has mood changes in pregnancy. If she has experienced mood issues previously then she will be more vulnerable to it now. There is a school of thought that feels that Post-natal depression (PND) starts antenatally and if not alleviated or does not spontaneously go away of its own accord then PND is more likely.

What you need to look out for is:

Changes in behaviour like motivation, taking care of herself, or making plans to do things and lacking in energy.

Feeling anxious or irritable, early morning waking and not going back to sleep or any change in sleep pattern not necessarily associated with being pregnant. Perhaps more tearful or feeling guilty and thinking negatively.

Changes in eating patterns…over or under eating that do not seem in keeping with being pregnant.

What you can do:

It is much harder to spot mood changes in pregnancy as so many symptoms can mirror what might be considered normal pregnancy changes. It is important to help her gently explore these if you think this might be what is happening.  You can help too by taking care of some things for her as well as encouraging some relaxation time. Talking together and just listening to her is very important. Do this initially until you are clear about what you feel is happening, but not too long that it is a bigger problem.

If you feel other help is needed then your GP is the first port of call, along with your midwife. Encourage her to pick up the phone herself but she may feel too guilty to do so and so tis may then be your job. However you both might consider private help and counselling. Some areas have specialist perinatal services and if this is required the midwife and or GP can refer.