Taking care of your mental health during pregnancy is crucial.
So, what comes to your mind when you hear about pregnancy? Pregnancy is usually marked with all the joys and the excitement of welcoming your little one. But have you ever wondered about the anxiety it brings with it?
Being pregnant comes with experiencing a whole roller coaster of emotions. From being curious about what the next nine months hold to being extremely conscious of the miscarriage in the initial months, pregnancy can take a serious toll on your mental health.
Read this blog to know how you can take care of your mental health during pregnancy.
How Pregnancy Impacts Your Mental Health?
In addition to all the physical changes that pregnancy brings in, a soon-to-be mother’s mental health is equally impacted.
Throughout the pregnancy journey, a woman might undergo a lot of behavioural and emotional changes. While normally, you might be good at coping with stressful situations, pregnancy makes you feel vulnerable in dealing with such situations.
Remember, pregnancy mood swings are real. One moment, you might be feeling at peace, while the next moment, you might see yourself having an emotional breakdown. These mood swings are caused due to an increase in two pregnancy hormones- Oestrogen and Progesterone. Keeping this in view, such moods can be absolutely normal. However, if you think these changes are disrupting your normal day-to-day life, talk it out with your partner or a counsellor.
What Can Cause You To Feel Anxious During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy can bring some huge lifestyle changes along with changing your perception about certain things.
Pregnancy anxieties can be subjective. It might vary on the basis of your own personality style, mental health history and the kind of support you have from your family and close friends.
Here is a list of some common pregnancy fears that you are not alone while experiencing.
- Fear of Miscarriage
- Consciousness about weight gain
- Confusion about birthing options
- Fear of baby’s birth defects
- Fear of childbirth
- Anxiety of being a good-enough parent
While having these anxieties to a certain extent can be normal, talk it out if you do not feel okay about it.
Why Is It Important To Monitor Your Mental Health During Pregnancy?
According to Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA), one in ten women experience depression during pregnancy.
But Does It Impact Your Baby?
Research says- yes! Studies show that mothers who experienced depression during their pregnancy gave birth to low birth-weight babies.
Analysing the emotional behaviours of the baby, many research studies have suggested a positive association between maternal mental health and infant’s temperament.
Mothers who showed anxiety symptoms during their pregnancy were found to have babies possessing the traits of clinging behaviour.
While these research studies can be contradictory at times, experiencing higher stress and anxiety levels during pregnancy also increases the risk of indulging in substance abuse among pregnant women.
Tips To Take Care Of Your Mental Health During Pregnancy
Balanced Nutrition Is A Must
Researchers have been trying to understand how your diet during pregnancy has a positive link to your baby’s growth and development.
Few studies have predicted unhealthy consumption of processed or junk foods with internalising problems like aggression in the child at the adult stage of their lives.
Make sure that you are including all the important vitamins and minerals in your meals.
When it comes to monitoring your calorie intake, you do not need to eat for two until you are keeping your plate healthy and packed with the right foods.
Here’s list of some important foods to keep in mind while preparing your diet chart-
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Protein-rich foods (fish,pulses)
- Poultry (lean and cooked meat)
- Dairy foods (milk, cheese)
- Fresh soups and juices
Practice Prenatal Yoga/Meditation
Studies conducted around the association between prenatal yoga and maternal mental health demonstrate that adult pregnant women indulging in yoga and meditation sessions experienced low distress throughout their pregnancy and even while giving birth to their babies.
Practising prenatal yoga will lead to improved mood and positive thinking in dealing with your day-to-day life situations during pregnancy.
During this time, you might also experience disrupted sleep patterns, consult your professional for yoga poses specifically aimed at improving the same.
Got Even A Minor Anxiety? Talk It Out!
Women tend to feel guilty about their partners having to deal with multiple pregnancy mood swings in a day. Well, you absolutely shouldn’t.
Remember, nurturing a whole new life inside your womb is not easy and might even get overwhelming at times. Trust your partner that they will understand what you are going through, once you decide to talk it out.
When it comes to confusion around birthing options or delivery-related doubts, let your partner know so you can work on coming on a decision together.
Acknowledge What You Feel
Women tend to feel a thousand different emotions during pregnancy, and it’s normal. If you feel stressed or anxious, acknowledge it!!
If you think your anxiety and stress levels are not letting you conduct your routine chores in a healthy way, accept it.
The healthiest thing you can do in this situation is to not disregard what you feel.
Remember, it’s okay not to feel okay.
Choose To Be Happy Over Being Perfect
Creating organised to-do lists or indulging in reading is what you should do during pregnancy, but do you know what else you can do on some days? Just resting and watching your favourite TV show.
If you think a particular pregnancy book is making you fearful rather than alert about the coming weeks, drop it.
What worked for a friend during her pregnancy might not work for you. These nine months of carrying a baby inside your womb are a subjective experience.
Do what you think makes you and your baby both healthy and happy.
Go For Prenatal Counselling And Therapy
During pregnancy, the best people you can surround yourselves with are the ones who would neither be judgemental about your choices nor impose their opinions on you.
Keeping a healthy network of friends and family is always recommended. However, if you think you are not comfortable sharing your doubts or fears with them, consult a prenatal counsellor.
Prenatal counselling can be extremely effective in regulating your emotions while navigating the nine months with your baby inside you. Your counsellor might recommend therapy if they think it will benefit you.
Taking care of mental health is crucial during pregnancy. How you feel emotionally while you are carrying a baby has a significant impact on how you perceive things around you. In order to nourish your baby with a positive mindset, follow the tips suggested in this blog. In case you continue to experience difficulty in dealing with such emotions, consult your psychologist for counselling and therapy.
If you are a new mother, read this blog: Tips To Help New Mothers With Postpartum Depression