Managing mental health during pregnancy
The usual culprits that arise in our minds when it comes to stressors are weddings, marriages, and having a baby. While pregnancy is an amazing experience, it can be a lot to handle as you also juggle your workplace and job, your family, and your daily responsibilities. Maintaining your mental health in various areas of life is important for yourself and your unborn child, and we are here to help.
We will talk a bit about the factors that cause unrest during pregnancy while also providing tips and resources that you can use to manage potential unrest during this joyful time.
How Pregnancy Affects Mental Health
If you are feeling stressed and emotionally drained during your pregnancy, then know that you are not alone. It is only natural to feel uneasy as there are many physical and hormonal changes happening all at once. You are also likely concerned about the health of the baby. That will particularly be the case if you had a previous miscarriage or there is a family history of complications. All of this can pile on, and it can be difficult to take.
The condition associated with worrying about the health of yourself and the baby during pregnancy is called antenatal anxiety. Symptoms can often come as general daily stress, panic attacks, or even PTSD which can result in bad dreams and a failure to relax when you need it most. With all of that said, the best way to avoid escalating depression is by practicing general self-care.
For instance, it is important to get seven to nine hours of sleep so that you can let your body and mind rest and you can wake up feeling refreshed. After you wake, make it a habit to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day or more if possible. By exercising, not only will you feel better about your general well-being, but you will also get a mental energy rush that will get you through the day.
Lean On Your Relationships
Possibly the most important step to managing your mental health during pregnancy is to talk to your support group whenever you need help or you are feeling down. If you have a spouse or significant other, you need to be a team, and you should be able to lean on one another whenever you need support.
It is important to share loving moments with your special someone during these nine months, but it is also important to remember that intimacy and mental health are connected, so you must be careful. For example, many women who experience anxiety may have trouble becoming aroused, and upon realizing that issue, further stress can develop. Sometimes, instead of being physically intimate, you can try alternative activities, such as walking through the park while holding hands or taking a romantic night out and talking to each other. In addition to improving your mental health, these activities will also make your bond stronger so you can work as a better team when the baby arrives.
If you don’t have a significant other or you just want to talk to people with similar situations, then consider joining a pregnancy group. You can find many by searching on social media. If you can’t find any, then at least look to a few close friends that you can depend on for solid advice or a listening ear.
In the case that you need to speak to a professional, then check online for assistance programs and therapists that can provide the help that you need. Many will also talk to you online so you don’t have to leave the house.
Be Cautious of What You Put in Your Body
Sometimes, your mental health can be helped or hurt by your diet and what you consume on a daily basis. Before getting to food, we should talk about taking medications like antidepressants while you are pregnant. If you have dealt with mental health issues before your pregnancy, then an added responsibility may not help. However, remember that antidepressants are not without their risks. Pills may make you feel better, but there are studies that link to issues for your unborn child. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor about weaning off of antidepressants, such as SSRIs.
While you may not want to take antidepressants, you should also know that untreated depression while pregnant can also stunt children’s communication and social skills. Needless to say, you need to speak to a doctor for the best answers. A medical professional will speak to you, order tests, and prescribe a solution that will be safe for everyone involved. If you do take medication, make sure to take the prescription exactly as instructed.
You should also be cautious about the food that you eat. A healthy diet of vegetables, protein, and whole grains is not only good for you and the baby, but when you treat your body right, you also feel better mentally. Try to avoid fast foods as the trans fats that they contain can make you feel drained and sluggish. Make sure to monitor your vitamin levels with a doctor, and work with a dietician if you are concerned about the amount of calcium or protein in your diet.
As you can see, there are many steps that you can take to manage your mental health during this special time. Consider the tips and guidance mentioned here, and you will be in a good place as you navigate the next nine months.
Guest post by Luke Smith.
Tags: Creating a Healthy Lifestyle in Recovery, crossroads health, health services, healthy living, lake county, lake county mental health, mental health, mental health awareness, mental health pregnant mental health while pregnant, mental health treatment, Mentor Ohio, pregnancy, pregnancy affects mental health, pregnant, pregnant mental health