The fact you have an awareness of postnatal depression is a major help – mention its existence to your family too. I’m not sure if you have had depression previously and that is why you are aware. Symptoms of postnatal depression include: low mood, difficulty looking after yourself and your baby, loss of interest in yourself or your baby, crying, difficulty concentrating, irritability, sleep and appetite difficulties, anxiety and panic attacks, despondency, and feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
Post natal depression may affect about 1 in 10 mothers so is fairly common. www.apni.org is an informative site from the Association of Postnatal Illness which provides leaflet, support and raises awareness of PND.
Preparation for the birth and life with a new baby may be helpful. Try and get ahead of domestic chores at home. Have a well stocked kitchen and fridge with easy to prepare nutritious meals for when you go home. Talk to your partner, friends and family to see if they can help out at all – doing a load of washing or ironing, preparing a meal, buying bread and milk – all simple things which can allow you time with your baby and to rest.
There are preventative treatment’s used with PND; you may need to speak to your GP or Obstetrician. High doses of progesterone may be given after labour. The progesterone is given in decreasing doses for eight days by injection. The mother then uses progesterone pessaries until menstruation starts again. This treatment is as yet unproven but early results indicate that it can be helpful in some cases. Or anti-depressants can be used in late pregnancy usually in the last three weeks. Many doctors feel that exposing the baby to anti-depressants even in late pregnancy is not ideal. However some feel that the benefit to the mother outweighs the risk to the baby.