Take Care Of Your Mental Health During Pregnancy – Here’s How

Pregnancy is a phase that can reshape your life but such an immense change comes with many highs and lows. One moment you could be elated about having a baby, and the next, you could be freaking out about how you’re going to raise your child. Both ends of this spectrum are valid. Seek support, care and advice from your family and experts to manage your mental health at this time.
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By Team DAP

Pregnancy is a life-altering phase for every woman. So, while it is joyous news, not every mother has a happy pregnancy experience. Reports suggest that a woman’s brain undergoes significant changes during pregnancy. Her brain’s grey matter shrinks in regions associated with processing and responding to social signals. Translated simply, it means that her ability to respond to her infant’s needs and detect dangerous people around her is heightened. Hormone-oriented and physical changes are a part of pregnancy. A pregnant woman will likely experience a rise in her blood volume, absorption of nutrients, hormone levels, and other physiological abilities. Learn more about the changes pregnancy brings to a woman’s mental well-being and what can be done to feel better with this article.

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Expected Cognitive Temperament

Mood swings are a frequent occurrence during pregnancy. A combination of pregnancy stress, physical changes in your body, and concerning matters related to your life can increase the frequency of your mood swings. 

  • Depression – Constant sadness mixed with irritability and exhaustion for weeks or months is a sign of depression. If a woman is depressed before pregnancy, there is a high possibility for it to get worse. At the same time, depression can recur post-pregnancy if the mother is stressed or unhappy with her pregnancy.
  • Anxiety – Psychologists define anxiety as fear and apprehension of what happens next. If a woman used to be stressed before conceiving, it is likely to aggravate during the span of her pregnancy. Her worries could revolve around the upcoming extra financial load, being a good mother, and the baby’s health, among others.

Below are certain mental health issues a woman can undergo during pregnancy:

  • Bipolar disorder is where a pregnant woman goes through cyclic episodes of low-energy depression and overactive mania.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD may develop or recur if they encounter a traumatic event during or before pregnancy.
  • Panic attacks where they may respond with abrupt and intense physical reactions and frantic fear.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is when pregnant women feel stuck in an anxious cycle of rituals.
  • Eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa may be prevalent.

Treatment Alternatives

  1. Prescription medicine

It is medically sound advice to consult your doctor before you take any medicines. Inform your doctor about your pregnancy if you are on medication to sustain your mental health. Do not stop the course unless your doctor approves of it. You may experience discomfort if the medicines don’t bode well with the baby, but it can worsen if you stop them without medical consultation. Once you inform your doctor, they will prescribe the appropriate medication for you and the baby.

  1. Therapy

A trained therapist helps you discover healthy coping mechanisms. Doing so will help you with stress, depression, and anxiety during pregnancy. Another activity to follow up with therapy is being part of a support group. Talking about your experience and difficulties with other pregnant women going through the same thing will inspire a form of connection and understanding. 

  1. Other approaches

Pregnant women can find solace in physical activities such as meditation, yoga, and exercise. These stimulate your brain and body in a rejuvenating way.

Ways To Maintain A Healthy Composure

  • Positive self-talk

Therapists and doctors advise pregnant women to refer to their bodies positively. Encourage compassion towards yourself in context with your thoughts. Interrupt your negative and stressful thoughts with things like, “You’ve got this, Mom!” Kind words in snippets throughout the day can keep your mood up.

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  • Practice body positivity

In the logical sense, pregnant women are aware of how hard their body is working to keep the baby comfortable. However, surface-level changes like weight gain, stretch marks appearing on the skin, and feeling lethargic make it hard to stay cheerful. One way of showing compassion for your body is to appreciate it aloud by saying things like, “My body is growing a healthy baby, it’s amazing!”

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  • Take prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins during pregnancy can act as a barrier between mood swings and you. Moreover, folic acid in prenatal vitamins promotes the baby’s healthy development. Consult your healthcare provider and see if you can take prenatal vitamins during your pregnancy.

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