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Pregnancy can make you go through a range of emotions and feelings. On one side you may get all excited and happy to welcome your little bundle of joy into this world, but you may also be engulfed with the feelings of nervousness and ambiguity as to how your pregnancy journey is going to unfold. You may find it less stressful to deal with the physical changes happening inside your body than to deal with emotional or mental changes that may be affecting your mind. Just as your physical health is of prime importance, taking care of mental health is mandatory, too. Read this post and understand how you can take care of your mental health during pregnancy.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Your Mental Health?
Pregnancy brings in many changes in your life, and your life will change a great deal once your baby arrives. Dealing with all the physical changes and hormonal changes may take a toll on your mental health, too. You may feel worried about your baby’s wellbeing, or you may get jittery about the upcoming labour and birth. All these overwhelming feelings may affect your mental health in pregnancy.
Mental Health Issues and Problems in Pregnancy
It is very normal for women and in some cases, even men, to experience mental issues or problems in pregnancy. Here are some of the common issues that may crop up during pregnancy:
Anxiety crops up if you worry about how the future is going to unfold or how things are going to happen. Unnecessarily worrying about future may take a toll on your mental health during pregnancy. You may worry whether you will be able to nurture your baby well or whether or not you will be an excellent mother to your baby.
Another mental disorder that may affect a pregnant woman is depression. If negative feelings remain for weeks at a stretch, it is possible that you may be battling with depression. A woman can be depressed before or after getting pregnant; either scenario is not good for you or your unborn baby. Depression in pregnancy may crop up due to a number of reasons such as unplanned pregnancy, unreasonable work demands, problematic relationships, etc.
Some of the other mental issues that you may face include bipolar disorder, eating disorder, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), panic attacks, etc.
Factors That Can Put You at Greater Risk of Developing Mental Issues During Pregnancy
Following are some factors that may put you at a higher risk of developing mental issues in pregnancy:
- If you are on drugs or you are an alcoholic.
- If you have been on any kind of other addiction or abuse.
- If you are facing troubles or problems in your relationships such as an estranged spouse, undergoing a divorce, or other such related issues.
- If you feel you do not have adequate support or enough people to take care of you.
- If you have faced mental problems in the past.
All these reasons or any other such situations may make you more prone to having mental problems in pregnancy.
When to Seek Advice from a Health Professional?
Just like you take care of your diet and nutrition in pregnancy, you should also take the utmost care of your mental health. In case you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, you should seek advice from a health professional immediately:
- If you are worried or anxious most of the times and you are not able to handle it.
- If your negative thoughts are affecting your day-to-day functioning, and you are unable to deal with them.
- If you are constantly experiencing negative or bad feelings for almost two weeks or more at a stretch.
- If you are experiencing obsessive-compulsive behavioural traits or you have panic attacks.
- If you are surrounded by feelings of hopelessness, are losing interest in day-to-day activities, are not able to cope up, or in short, you are exhibiting signs of depression.
If you register any of the feelings mentioned above, it may be associated with some kind of mental issue. It becomes imperative that you seek some sort of mental health pregnancy support for the same. Many professional units work closely with people suffering from such mental health issues. You may get in touch with your doctor and get more info on the same.
Tips to Take Care of Your Mental Health During Pregnancy
Here are some mental health and pregnancy guidelines that you can follow at your level to take care of your mental health during pregnancy:
1. Take Good Care of Yourself
You are all set to welcome your baby into this world, and you may be doing everything for your baby and his wellbeing, but it is very important that you do not forget about yourself in that rut. Make yourself a priority, too, and do things that make you happy every once in a while. Dedicate some time of the day to yourself and do things that you enjoy doing. Call this time ‘me-time’ and indulge in activities that make you happy and peaceful.
2. Be Appropriately Informed
It is important for you to be well-versed with the changing scenario. In other words, it is good to know about what is happening inside you or what will soon happen. Therefore, you may go through prenatal or postnatal information. However, know that all this information may, at times, seem overwhelming, and it could make it difficult for you to deal with during pregnancy. You may choose to refrain from getting in-depth info or too much information on the topic if that is the case.
3. Healthy Diet
Eat a healthy diet, which is loaded with all the essential nutrients. Eating good food is not only good for your growing baby but eating the right kind of diet also helps you in feeling good about yourself.
4. Get Ample Rest
With so many changes happening, getting rest and sleep may get a bit taxing. However, it is very important for you to get adequate rest to feel physically and mentally healthy. If you feel like napping at any time of the day, take out time and do it. It is your body’s way of signalling that it needs rest; therefore, do not neglect your body’s demands.
One cannot undermine the importance of a good workout session. Pregnancy is no exception, which means it is essential for you to exercise to feel healthy. Take out time and exercise. Be it walking, cycling or swimming, any form of exercise is good. Whenever you exercise, your body releases feel-good hormones called endorphins. The release of these hormones makes you feel happy and relaxed and keeps stress and anxiety at bay. However, if yours is a high-risk pregnancy, you should talk to your doctor about the kinds of exercises you can do.
6. Your Support System
Humans are social beings, and we like to be surrounded by people for help and support. Pregnancy is a time when you require a good support system from people around you. It may be your partner, your friends, your parents, or your siblings. It can be anyone you can rely on for help, guidance and support. Being around people who love and care for you will keep mental issues at bay.
7. Do Not Exert Yourself
Listen to your body and function accordingly. If your body cannot take long working hours or you are unable to manage your daily chores all by yourself, do not exert yourself. Do as much work as your body feels comfortable doing. This way, your mind will be at peace too.
It is normal to feel anxious or stressed at some point in time during your pregnancy. However, if you feel you are not able to manage your mental state, it calls for professional help. Do not hesitate and ask for professional support immediately!