Pregnancy is a life-changing journey for women. It is often seen as a joyous occasion because it marks the beginning of motherhood. Pregnancy also brings many challenges and uncertainties, not only to the soon-to-be mother but also to the new baby and the significant other.
Aside from their physical well-being, pregnant women should also be mindful of their mental state, as both are affected by the pregnancy’s various hormonal changes.
Women usually experience different symptoms while pregnant. These symptoms may physically show, such as morning sickness, nausea, and other pregnancy complications. At the same time, pregnant women become incredibly vulnerable and are highly susceptible to mental health problems.
According to recent studies, one in five women is affected by mental illnesses during pregnancy. Having a baby, especially for the first time, can bring worries to the new parents. Coping can be difficult. Stress and fear levels can be at an all-time high.
Among the most common mental disorders experienced during pregnancy are depression and anxiety. The occurrence of these psychological disorders is significantly associated with personal experiences and life events.
Depression may develop when women are not happy to receive the news of being expectant. They may also develop this mood disorder if their pregnancy restricts them from doing what they love, like working, traveling, or other physical activities.
On the other hand, anxiety can stem from unplanned pregnancies, financial incapacities, or worries about not being a good mother. These are all stressors that can severely impact a pregnant’s mental well-being.
Mental health risks may continuously increase even after pregnancy. Research studies conclude that 85% of women undergo mood disturbance and changes after giving birth. These may include postpartum blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis.
The severity of psychological illnesses after childbirth is not only limited to depression and anxiety anymore. Bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are all possible for women succeeding labor.
These mental illnesses may completely turn a new family’s life over. The situation can become rigid and taxing as the mother may detach her life from the current situation. Therefore, creating a series of problems such as refusing to breastfeed, refusing to hold the newborn, or any other complications. The relationship of the parents may also see a downfall.
Suffering From Mental Disorder While Expecting
It is common knowledge that when bearing a child, the mother should take precautions or discontinue any medication that may affect the developing infant.
The question now is, what happens to women who have been struggling with psychological disorders and are now expecting a child?
Pregnancies of women with mental illnesses are often unplanned, as they already know they may be putting another life at risk or in danger with their history. If the pregnancy does happen, decisions regarding treatments and medications can be a bit tricky.
Fetal exposure to medications, drugs, and other medical care indeed imposes peril. Congenital malformations, neonatal toxicity, and neurodevelopmental disorders may affect the newborn for a long time. Some may even be incurable.
Not only are the women going to suffer through mental illness, but it is likely to affect the fetus. One should go through preconception counseling to plan a healthy start for the mother and the baby.
How To Take Care Of Your Mental Health During Pregnancy
Motherhood indeed brings mixed emotions, but we now know that they are not often great. Like in daily life or occurrences, taking care of a pregnant mother’s physical, emotional, and mental state is most likely the same.
Exercise, enough sleep, and a healthy diet are crucial to the developing infant and the mother’s physical health. Prenatal vitamins are the only recommended medications. Otherwise, one must consult with a physician first, especially for long-term prescriptions.
Therapy should also be undertaken, especially if the parents think their relationship is on the rocks. Talk therapy may also ease the minds of soon-to-be parents about their worries over raising a child. There are plenty of support groups available, where other mothers or parents in general, with similar concerns or have gone through the same thing, are sharing their valuable insights regarding childbirth.
While your pregnancy is still early, spend time doing what you love the most and surround yourself with people who will support you through it.
A Baby On The Way
Having a baby can be a very fulfilling event in the life of a woman. But like many things and stages in life, it is a challenging one. Pregnancy can bring out many changes, including some that may affect the mother and infant’s mental health.
Don’t expect too much of yourself. While the worries of motherhood can wash over you, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that you are not alone. You have your partner with you, and both of you will get through this. Take a rest if you must.