Britney Spears opens up about "absolutely horrible" perinatal depression

·3 min read

After announcing that she and fiancé Sam Asghari are expecting a baby – congrats! – Britney Spears opened up about about her "absolutely horrible" experience with perinatal depression.

Taking to Instagram, the 40-year-old said: "It’s hard because when I was pregnant I had perinatal depression… I have to say it is absolutely horrible." Britney went on to point out that at the time of her first two pregnancies (in 2005 and 2006), "women didn't talk about" their mental health.

"Some people considered it dangerous if a woman complained like that with a baby inside her," she said in the caption of her post. "But now women talk about it everyday," Britney added, welcoming the fact that "we don’t have to keep that pain a reserved proper secret."

As for how she plans to combat perinatal depression if she develops it during this pregnancy, the singer told fans she'll "be doing yoga everyday".

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According to the NHS, perinatal depression is a term used for depression during pregnancy or in the year after childbirth. "Feelings of anxiety and depression can occur at any time from conception until your child is a year old," the NHS website says. "Although having a baby is supposed to be one of the most exciting and joyful experiences you’ll ever have, sometimes the reality is quite different. You may be surprised, and even alarmed, to experience feelings you hadn’t expected. Childbirth can leave you feeling exhausted and anxious, as well as shocked by the sudden changes in your life as a result of becoming a mother."

Listing the signs and symptoms to look out for, the NHS website says: "If your symptoms start in the antenatal period, last longer than the first two weeks, or start later within the first year, you could have perinatal depression. Perinatal depression can start any time from conception through the first year after giving birth."

Signs that you or someone you know might be depressed include:

  • a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood

  • lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world

  • lack of energy and feeling tired all the time

  • trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day

  • difficulty bonding with your baby

  • withdrawing from contact with other people

  • problems concentrating and making decisions

  • frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby

"Many women don't realise they have perinatal depression because it can develop gradually," the website adds. "Perinatal depression and anxiety can be lonely, distressing and frightening, but support and effective treatments are available."

If you are suffering with your mental health, it is important that you're open and honest with your midwife or GP – they will be able to offer support and signpost you to a range of treatments.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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