PROPER – SUFFICIENT NUTRITION TO PREVENT DEPRESSION DURING AND AFTER PREGNANCY
Depression is a disease related to mental health as well as the healthy functioning of the nervous system. Pregnancy and lactation are periods when the demand for nutrition increases, if not provided enough will lead to nutrient deficiencies, affecting brain health as well as the neurotransmitter system. This is one of the reasons for the increased risk of maternal depression during this period.
Common causes of depression in pregnant and postpartum women
- The hormonal changes during pregnancy make the mom’s mood unstable, always feel uncomfortable and depressed
- Pressure from social relations; worries about pregnancy, family, children, etc.
- Inadequate diet affects the functioning of the nervous system:
Alteration of the neuronal membrane, over-processing, as well as the transmission of nerve impulses, are affected: Omega-3 (DHA, EPA) plays an important role in this because it determines the structure and flexibility of the brain cell membrane, the ability to absorb neurotransmitters and signal transducers.
Low levels of neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) in the brain: related to the role of folate, vitamin B12, etc.
Depression in pregnant and postpartum moms is thought to be directly proportional to poverty, gender inequality, anxiety, family instability, etc. The risk of developing postpartum depression is 2.5 times higher in the sub-group women with anemia.
However, there are also studies showing that depression is also linked to excessive nutrition.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding are non-intervention factors. Meanwhile, “The pressure of life” and “Nutrition” are the factors that moms can work to prevent and alleviate depression. In this article, we would like to mention nutrition factors in the prevention of depression.
Signs of depression
The frequency of depression is quite high, about 20% of the general population in the world, the rate of women/men is 5/2. However, only about one-third of depressed patients receive treatment. As the symptoms of mild depression are not clear and there is little difference compared with the emotional expressions that change in daily life. Signs of depression-like:
- Emotional changes: feeling sad, empty, feeling useless or helpless, irritable, irritable, angry, frustrated, crying often, lacking concentration, lacking confidence, bored, losing control of behavior, alienating others, even suicidal thoughts, thoughts that are harmful to moms and babies.
- Changes in the body: the feeling of lack of energy, always tired accompanied by symptoms of headache, abdominal pain; Sensitive to cold air, slow thinking, fatigue, dry skin, constipation.
- Changes in lifestyle: eating, sleeping too much or too little, often having difficulty making decisions, difficulty concentrating, impairing memory, not interacting with people, reducing all interests.
Depression is considered the most common complication of pregnancy, accounting for about 16% in the prenatal period and 20% in the postpartum period in middle-income countries. Depression can have serious and long-lasting effects on the health of the mom and the baby.
- Consequences for the mom include: decreased quality of life, loss of ability to take care of themselves, increased incidence of illnesses due to other causes.
- For children the effects include: malnutrition, physical development and poor awareness, increasing the risk of disease.
Depression is often detected only when the symptoms have become more apparent, which has affected quite a lot for mom – baby and family life. The treatment for depression is not easy and takes a long time to improve. Therefore, proactive prevention by implementing a balanced, balanced diet is essential for preventing depression. Especially for the group of people at high risk of nutritional deficiency are pregnant and postpartum women.
Nutrition to prevent depression
Many studies have found a link between perinatal depression and lower levels of nutrients such as fotate, vitamin D, Fe, Se, Zn, fats and long-chain unsaturated fatty acids Omega 3 (DHA, EPA). Nutritional Supplement Proper – Enough may be considered as the first solution for the treatment of mild depression and complementary treatment for more severe depression.
Accordingly, a diet that provides adequate nutrients is the first thing that should be considered during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Adequate nutrition not only helps the fetus develop healthy and standard but also ensures the mother with the best health both physically and mentally to overcome this difficult and sensitive period.
The biochemical role of nutrients in the nervous system is described in the following table:
|Nutrition||Mechanism of action||Impact on shortage|
|Omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids (DHA, EPA)||The main component of the cell membrane; is a substrate for lipid-derived mediators of cell-cell interaction and nerve signal transmission.||Impaired ability to see, hear and smell. Impaired cell membrane renewal thus promotes brain aging, which is considered to be associated with mood swings, depression, intellectual disabilities.|
|B1||Promote the use of glucose for energy||Neurological changes such as embarrassment, short-term memory loss, apathy, irritability|
|B6||Biosynthesis of chemical intermediates, change in N-methyl-∂-aspartate receptors in the central nervous system||Irritability, depression, depression|
|B 12||Along with folate converts homocysteine into methionine – an essential ingredient for nucleotide biosynthesis||Neurological disorders, hematological changes, memory loss; pain; Unusual sensation in the extremities|
|Acid folic||Metabolism of methionine-homocysteine||Neural tube defects, big red anemia along with mood disturbances|
|Vitamin D||Protect the hippocampus/ Central neutral system; controlling glucose transport to the brain||May be related to psychotic consequences in adults|
|Iodine||Main components of thyroid hormone affect to expression of hormone and other growth factors||Decreased IQ, dullness, mental retardation in babies born to mothers with iodine deficiency during pregnancy; Depression associated with hypothyroidism.|
|Iron||Metabolism of myelin and lipids, changes in neurotransmission, energy production and DNA biosynthesis||Decreased memory and learning ability; behavioral abnormalities; mood and cognitive impairment|
|Selen||Antioxidant; Required for thyroid biosynthesis and metabolism||Bad mood|
|Zinc||Biosynthesis of DNA and protein||Impaired ability to learn and respond to stimuli; reduced activity and attention ability; Depleted unsaturated fatty acid accumulation for body elongation|
Due to the increasing demand during pregnancy and lactation, in order to ensure adequate nutrients for the body, in addition to improving the quality of meals, moms are advised to supplement with supplements every day. It is important to pay attention to supplementing nutrients in moderate doses to meet the needs, including major nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA), iron, folic acid, Vitamin D, etc.