Modern Australian


The Importance of Mental Health During Pregnancy

  • Written by Tanya Mayer


Ask any mom and they’ll certainly tell you that having kids is probably the best feeling in the world. While it is all worth it in the end, the pregnancy itself often comes with a lot of obstacles. The weight gain often affects your normal day-to-day functioning and you have to be careful about what you eat and drink. Also, while exercising is recommended, sometimes you are put on bedrest, which can be very discouraging.

Besides all these physical side-effects, there is also the mental health aspect of pregnancy which often gets neglected. Keeping an eye on your mental wellbeing is crucial during this time in your life, so make sure to learn about it as much as you can. Here are some things that you should know.

Why mental health cannot be ignored?

It’s not unusual to focus only on the physical side of pregnancy. We have experts telling us to avoid alcohol and reduce the amount of caffeine we intake or to do some light workouts, and we listen to these pieces of advice. However, for some reason, we don’t consider mental health as important and often don’t devote enough time to it.

This has to stop. Mental health is vital for ensuring your baby’s growth and wellbeing, not to mention your own. The mom-to-be’s health is essential as, without her, there can be no baby. Poor mental health can lead to negative thoughts, eating disorders and self-harm, which has negative effects on the baby as well.

What are the potential mental health issues?

When talking about women’s mental health during pregnancy, it’s important to be aware of all potential issues and what they entail.

Depression is a common problem that occurs when expecting. While postpartum depression is something that is often discussed, antenatal depression is mostly neglected. This serious issue can affect both the future mom and her partner. It’s important to note that this can happen regardless of age, background and medical history.

Another matter a lot of expectant parents have to deal with is anxiety. This disorder is very common during pregnancy due to all the unknown factors, such as the financial situation, delivery process and parenthood, in general.

Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia can also develop during this time, in addition to panic attacks, PTSD, OCD and bipolar disease. In case you start feeling any different than you normally do, it might be time to visit a doctor.

What to look out for?

As we said, it’s important to realize when something more serious is happening. For instance, we all know that mood swings are common during pregnancy but recognizing signs of a deeper problem is crucial.

If you were dealing with depression before you got pregnant, you have to consult your doctor about whether your antidepressants will affect the baby and whether you have to stop taking them. On the other hand, if you have no history of depression, feeling down or sad for a longer period of time can be a cause for concern.

You could encounter similar problems with anxiety as well. If you’re a natural worrier, being pregnant can put a lot more stress on you. If you notice that you worry non-stop, you should look for help. Rely on your support system or talk to a doctor to see what can be done.

How to deal with these issues?

The first step for dealing with these issues is recognizing them. If you notice that anything is different, talk to your partner. See whether they’ve noticed a change in you and whether they can do anything to make you feel better.

If not, you should make an appointment with your doctor and express your concerns. They can help diagnose you and find a way to cope with these issues. They might recommend some kind of treatment or refer you to a therapist where you can get to the root of the problem. Another option that works for a lot of people is exercise, so see what type of workout you are allowed. On the other hand, yoga and meditation can also be very helpful.

 

Mental health is not something you can afford to neglect during pregnancy. In order for the baby to be healthy, you have to think about all aspects of your own wellbeing. If you notice any issues, make sure to turn to people you trust and work on a way to deal with your problems.

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