We all know how important physical health is when expecting a baby. From alcohol and too much caffeine to certain types of food and exercise, there are plenty of things pregnant women must avoid. However, getting caught up in this can often lead to neglecting mental health which is equally as important, not just for the mom-to-be but for the entire family. So, here is what you should be aware of when it comes to mental wellbeing during pregnancy.
How is mental health affected during pregnancy? While waiting for your new family member to be born into this world is exhilarating, it is also very stress-inducing. Future parents usually have a lot on their minds, from preparing the house for the baby through worrying about their finances all the way to thinking they are not ready for parenthood. Seeing as how this is a big life change, it is not uncommon to be stressed out if you’re not sure how to cope with all the uncertainties that being pregnant brings.
Mood swings are also something that occurs quite often when expecting. However, it’s important to realize when the problem is more serious than that. If someone is nervous or feeling down most of the time, it’s crucial to take action.
What issues can you encounter? There are many mental health issues that can occur during pregnancy. It’s essential to keep in mind that these problems have a huge effect on both women and men. While the mother’s wellbeing is vital for ensuring the baby is born healthy, men’s mental health is often neglected. This is something that should also receive attention.
One of the most common mental health issues that affect soon-to-be-parents is anxiety. They often worry about the delivery going well, dealing with the current money situation or being good parents in general. This is often caused by the fear of the unknown. Moreover, if a person already suffers from anxiety, pregnancy can worsen their condition.
Depression is another problem that occurs during pregnancy. While postnatal depression is something people are usually aware of, antenatal depression can also affect both of the future parents. Feeling irritable or down for a prolonged period of time whether due to home or work stress or the pregnancy itself is in no way healthy and should be dealt with.
While these two probably have the biggest impact on the health of the mom- and dad-to-be, other issues that could occur include PTSD and OCD as well as eating disorders, panic attacks, and bipolar disorder. If you or your partner are feeling down or nervous, you should definitely consult a doctor as most of these mental illnesses can be treated and are not something that should be ignored.
What can be done? Like we previously said, it’s important to differentiate between mood swings and more serious problems. You should seek professional advice in case you feel sad or worried constantly for over two weeks or have negative thoughts that affect your normal functioning. Furthermore, don’t ignore signs of depression, including the feeling of hopelessness, inability to cope or generally losing interest in things. Panic attacks and obsessive behaviors are also indicators that you should look for help.
If you notice any of these signs in either you or your partner, talk to each other and see what the problem is and if there is a way to solve it together. If not, talk to your GP as they are sure to suggest some ways how you can deal with the issue at hand.
For instance, they might recommend medication. However, it’s vital that you don’t take anything without talking to a professional first. Your doctor can tell you which meds are not dangerous for the baby and when to start and stop taking them.
Another option they might propose is talking to a therapist. You can go alone or with your partner, depending on how you feel about it. These sessions can help you feel less alone as well as manage stress.
On the other hand, some light physical activity can also help you deal with depression and anxiety. You can choose to do yoga and meditate or get a personal trainer to create a set of exercises that could boost your mood and not affect the baby.
Mental health is very important during pregnancy. That is why one must have good support and people they can rely on. Whether you or your partner is struggling with any of these issues, make sure to seek guidance.