A Hard-to-Treat Disease
A 2003 study led by Dr. Marcus at the University of Michigan found that only 13.8 percent of pregnant women who scored high on a questionnaire testing for depression were getting the help they needed. The truth is, depression in pregnancy is tough to treat. Many women suffer through the symptoms, chalking them up to pregnancy highs and lows, and never seek help.
Angela Hogate of Tracy, California, is a perfect example of this. She barely recognized the depression that set in during her third trimester. "I just didn't want to get out of bed, and I had a horrible time sleeping," she says, "but it was hard to know if my troubles were from all the stress I was feeling about the baby, or the fact that I was so uncomfortable and big," she says. And even if a woman wants help, says Dr. Marcus, she may be reluctant to discuss it with her doctor out of sheer embarrassment; after all, pregnant women are supposed to be eagerly anticipating the joyous event of having a child.
Other women want to seek help but aren't able to get it. For example, women on pregnancy bed rest are prone to depression, but since they can't leave their bed, they often can't get the help they need.