Managing Mental Health During Pregnancy

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Managing Mental Health During Pregnancy

What are the emotional challenges faced during pregnancy? MSP Shalaka Tambe explores the subject in-depth for all moms-to-be!.

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Mental health during pregnancy is of utmost importance for the woman and the child-to-be-born. Pregnancy is the beginning of a new phase in a woman’s life.  The nine-month period of pregnancy is important for the baby in the womb as well as for the mother-to-be. A woman experiences many changes and emotional challenges of pregnancy. The obvious and more talked about changes are physical changes in the body pertaining to weight gain. However, one of the overlooked aspects is the need to discuss mental health during pregnancy and the psychological effects that follow., Emotional well-being is highly important during and post-pregnancy.  Looking after mental health problems in pregnancy is as important as being aware of the physical changes. However, there is a lack of structured dialogue around this topic. And, there is a need for spreading awareness about mental health problems in pregnancy and knowing how to handle emotions during pregnancy.  This is a sensitive and crucial period of nine months for a woman and it needs to be addressed with compassion and awareness.

A healthy mind and body with balanced emotions in a woman works to deal with the changes and challenges that pregnancy could bring with it. A mentally healthy and emotionally stable woman will be best placed to manage effects of emotional stress during pregnancy.

Mood swings during pregnancy can affect any woman at any point. Experiencing mixed emotions and feelings is a normal part of pregnancy and is also necessary, to some extent, in order to prepare for the parenting journey. It is absolutely normal to have fears and worries about the possible challenges that come with pregnancy. It is also OK to feel some stress when you know it’s a big change. The hormonal and physical changes also trigger the feelings of emotional stress during pregnancy.

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Normal Emotional Challenges of Pregnancy

Apart from emotional ups and downs caused by rising hormone levels in the first three months, the feeling of growing a new life inside you can be exciting and awe-inspiring. It is common for women to feel anxious, vulnerable, and overwhelmed by the big changes that pregnancy and a new baby will bring. 

As you feel excited by your pregnancy, you will also have some unsettling thoughts. Perhaps there will also be some difficult decisions to make. Most women have many questions that they ask of themselves. They might doubt their ability as a mother, how their relationship might change or how they will manage financially. Other normal emotional challenges and worries include:

  • What if I do something accidentally to harm the baby? What if I eat or drink something I shouldn’t?
  • What will the process of giving birth be like?
  • Will my life go back to normal afterwards?
  • Will I be able to return to work?
  • If you experienced problems with a pregnancy before, you might also worry about it happening again causing mental health issues in pregnancy

However, all these are natural and normal psychological effects of pregnancy that women experience. And, these are the worries which are also usually talked about openly.  These emotional challenges of pregnancy are considered safe to express and discuss.

But, what about mental health during pregnancy? There might be other emotional issues, worries which a woman might experience, but would be hesitant to discuss openly. Also there could be other signs which might go overlooked because we are not aware of them. So, it is important that women become aware about their emotional well-being and take good care of themselves and seek help and support to address mental health issues in pregnancy.

 

Mental Health and Pregnancy: How Pregnancy can Dictate your Emotions

Apart from the normal and expected fear, worry and stress, women may experience mood disorders during pregnancy as well as after the birth of the child. Also depending upon the situation and circumstances, the stress level can vary, for example, if someone has had a bad experience before, like miscarriage or a complicated pregnancy, one may feel highly stressed. For some women, pregnancy can lead to issues such as anxiety, depression, antenatal anxiety and postpartum depression.  Research suggests that 2 in every 10 women experience antenatal depression. Many women experience anxiety and depression at the same time as well. Apart from these, other factors which contribute towards greater risk of developing mental health issues during pregnancy could be:

  • Not having enough support
  • The feeling of being alone in the journey
  • Going through a hard time in your life such as change of place, change in careers, and difficulty in relationships.
  • Past problem with mental health, pregnancy
  • Past abuse history or if one is going through abuse in the present

Mental and emotional health issues can affect anyone. And there is nothing wrong in it and there is nothing to be ashamed about.

Looking after mental health problems in pregnancy is as important as being aware of the physical changes.

How to Handle Emotions during Pregnancy? When should you Seek Help?

It is very important to look after one’s mental health during pregnancy and be able to recognize when you need help.

While pregnancy can bring its ups and downs, it is time to seek advice from a professional if you observe the following,

  • You have been consistently feeling sad or worried for more than 2-3 weeks
  • You are feeling anxious or worried for most of the time
  • Negative feelings and thoughts are surfacing frequently and are affecting the way you function
  • You are showing signs of depression such as losing interest in the things you loved, you are unable to cope with your emotions, you are feeling overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings
  • You find yourselves engaging in repetitive patterns of behaviours e.g. repeatedly checking your weight, excessive use of social media that affects mental well-being
  • Having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Have lost your appetite
  • Having panic attacks

 

 

In such cases it is important to seek qualified and professional help. One should share with their partner, close family member or a close friend about the need for getting professional help and cope with the issues and restore the emotional and mental well-being so that one can experience the journey of pregnancy with awareness and care.

Managing mental health during pregnancy need not seem like a huge task to be worried about. With the guidance of a Mental Strength Professional, you can develop stronger mental health during pregnancy to move away from fear to freedom from stress. It’s all in the mind! And, if you have a strong mind, you can easily handle all the emotional challenges of pregnancy. Confused? Call us at: +91-82-60-11-22-33 (India) . You can also book your session online. Write to us: info@mentalstrengthprofessional.com

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