Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Phrase You've Never Heard: Antenatal Depression

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm working on a book proposal about depression in pregnancy.  For the entire time I've been working on this project, I've struggled with what to call "depression in pregnancy."  Is that the best phrase?  Is "depression during pregnancy" better?  Is "perinatal depression" right?  Is "prenatal depression" better?  As you can probably see, the phrase "depression during pregnancy" is kind of clunky and gets unwieldy when you're using it a lot, so I was getting kind of desperate to find an alternative.

I happened to have an appointment with my psychiatrist this week, and I thought maybe she'd know, so I'd ask her.  She told me the appropriate phrase is "antenatal depression," while "perinatal depression" means any kind of depression during or after pregnancy (i.e., it includes postpartum depression as well).  I was quite excited to actually find a phrase for what I've been talking about.

The only problem is that I didn't ask how to spell it.  I wasn't sure if it was "antinatal" or "antenatal."  So, like most people, I decided to turn to the most authoritative reference around:  Wikipedia.

And, wouldn't you know it -- Wikipedia didn't have a page on either "antenatal" or "antinatal" depression.  Can you believe it?  It wasn't on Wikipedia.   I still figured out how to spell it (it's "antenatal," fyi) because there were a few other pages that had links to information about antenatal depression, so I still accomplished my goal, but I was kind of stunned.  I was thinking that maybe all this time I just couldn't find the right resources because I didn't have the right phrase, but I was wrong.  I did find a page on postpartum depression, of course, and just about everything else I looked up while testing the theory that Wikipedia has a page on everything (random crap I looked up:  Dr. Zoidberg - a character from Futurama; Susan Stafford -- the original letter-turner on Wheel of Fortune; and a page listing all the Salute Your Shorts episodes).

So that's all I really wanted to say today.  That there is a clinical phrase for depression in pregnancy:  antenatal depression.  And that it's such an obscure topic-- despite estimates that as high as 25% of women suffer from it -- that it's not even listed on Wikipedia.   But now you know the phrase, and you can pass it on.  Don't you feel educated?

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