WELLNESS
12/18/2014 11:21 am ET Updated Dec 18, 2014

How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Mental Health

A new baby usually brings infinite joy to a family, but the pregnancy itself can sometimes be quite difficult for a mother-to-be.

Elizabeth Fitelson, M.D., the director of the women's program at Columbia University, explained how pregnancy was once automatically perceived as being a time for "emotional well-being" for a woman, as she was assumed to be overjoyed to be having a child.

"Unfortunately, that's not the case and has never really been the case, and now we have data that actually shows that pregnancy is not protected against mental illness," Fitelson told HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski on Wednesday.

For some women, "the huge hormonal, physical and psychological shifts" that happen during pregnancy may put her at increased risk for depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses, Fitelson said.

With 14 to 23 percent of women experiencing some form of depressive symptoms during pregnancy, Fitelson said health care practitioners can now screen for symptoms to ensure proper treatment.

Check out the clip on pregnancy and mental health above, and click here to watch the full segment on HuffPost Live.

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Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Have a story about depression that you'd like to share? Email strongertogether@huffingtonpost.com, or give us a call at (860) 348-3376, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.

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