Public health was a significant part of the 2018 San Diego Conference. The conference also emphasized the importance of family strengthening and perinatal health in the midst of a health crisis, such as the spread of the COVID-19 disease. It was announced that most of the upcoming events for the coming year were canceled due to the outbreak. Public health is asking everyone to take the necessary precautions to reduce or lower the incidence of COVID spread. Social distancing was one of the highlights, with the speakers urging the audience and practically all individuals to protect themselves and their families through some essential methods.
Let us discuss here the overview, symptoms, and prevention of Corona Virus Disease 2019.
COVID-19 is a contagious disease that is caused by a relatively new virus that affects the respiratory system. Illness initially begins as flu, which may include symptoms like cold, cough, or fever. The disease spreads mainly through direct contact with the infected individual when he sneezes or coughs. One can also be infected when he touches something that the virus has stuck and then touches his mouth, eyes, or nose. The virus lives for a few days on wood and paper and hours on other surfaces.
When a person is infected, he gets sick from day 1 to 14 before developing the main symptoms, the most common of which are fever, malaise, and dry cough. However, about 80% of those who get infected recover fully without needing any specific treatment. COVID can be life-threatening for seniors with existing medical conditions (those with asthma, cardiac conditions, or diabetes).
One can protect himself from spreading the virus or from getting infected through these simple but very important ways.
Washing your hands with water and soap for 20 seconds is the first front line method. It gets rid of the virus and other bacteria that you may have touched from the outside environment. When you sneeze or cough, don’t forget to cover your nose and mouth with a hanky or your arm. Social distancing, a very common term nowadays, means avoiding close contact with infected or non-infected people, about 1 to 3 meters. Lastly, if you think you are unwell, do stay home and isolate yourself to avoid contaminating others.
According to evidence-reports, more and more women in America are using cannabis during their pregnancy. These reports state that there is a 1.4% increase, from 2% up to 3.4% over the last year. However, experts say that cannabis use during pregnancy may result in neurological abnormalities. “We found that prenatal cannabis use doubled among nonmarried women — from 5% in 2005 to 10% in 2014,” Sehun Oh, PhD said.
With the increasing laws and regulations applied to cannabis use, so has the number of people using cannabis grown, including pregnant women. There are 33 states, plus the District of Columbia, have officially legitimized medical cannabis use. Furthermore, 11 states have legitimized recreational marijuana use.
The increasing number of pregnant women using cannabis has worried a lot of health experts who believe that the drug does affect the developing fetus inside their wombs.
The Study At Kaiser
The healthcare experts at Kaiser Permanente Northern California did a study on pregnant women who were using cannabis regularly or occasionally. These pregnant women were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their drug use in their initial prenatal checkup. The results revealed that between 2009 and 2017, there was an increase in pregnant women using cannabis of 1.43%, from 1.95% in 2009 to 3.38% in 2017. Of this population, 0.69% of these pregnant women were regularly using cannabis, while almost 1% was smoking the drug weekly.
Other clinical trials revealed that pregnant women used cannabis to replace medications for their pregnancy-related symptoms like headaches and morning sickness, perhaps because cancer patients were administered cannabis for their morning sickness. But health experts remind these pregnant women that the first trimester is the critical time of the pregnancy phase when the brain and other vital organs of the baby are developing inside the womb, so it is not the time to be using cannabis.
Cannabis Poses Risks For Pregnant Women
According to an article published two years ago, pregnant women who have been using cannabis once or twice a week had a higher likelihood of delivering prematurely and will most likely have infants with low birth weights. Additionally, the article noted that women who often used cannabis were also inclined to smoke cigarettes and other forms of drugs. “If marijuana is being used for recreational purposes, it is best to stop using it during pregnancy. It is also important to emphasize that marijuana is not unique in this regard,” Eugene Rubin M.D., Ph.D. says.
Apparently, more research and trials are necessary to effectively confirm the short and long term impacts of the use of cannabis among pregnant women, and this would include the frequent and occasional users as well.
Health Experts Against Cannabis Use For Pregnant Women
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists urges all pregnant women to keep away from using cannabis either for medical or recreational purposes due to the impending risks and unclear information about pregnancy and cannabis use.
The institution also reiterates that those who have been used to using cannabis and got pregnant must stop smoking it, as concerns about abnormal brain development and fetal exposure to the ill effects of smoking have tremendously risen. In the past, pregnant women who were reportedly using cannabis were not told by their doctors of its possible health risks and dangers. According to Ira J. Chasnoff M.D., “Long-term studies of children prenatally exposed to marijuana once again are consistent with THC’s action on the developing fetal brain, with significant deficits in aspects of cognitive functioning, focusing primarily on memory, behavioral regulation, and executive functioning, an aspect of regulatory control that is key to learning and to managing behavior.”
Some Pregnant Women Do Not Report Their Cannabis Use
Pregnant women who are under child protection services may face penalties for using cannabis, despite the fact that the specific state they live in legalizes its use. Also, some of these women hesitate to tell the truth because of legal issues. Health experts state that there are punitive laws executed to pregnant women who use drugs, who may do more harm eventually.
It was finally decided after the whole study that most, if not all, evidence led to the conclusion that cannabis use among pregnant women has no health advantage at all. Instead, it may lead to dangerous risks on babies, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and abnormal brain development.
A woman’s stress and anxiety levels can elevate during pregnancy due to several reasons. According to Christine Schetter, PhD, and Lynlee Tanner, PhD, “anxiety, depression, and stress in pregnancy are risk factors for adverse outcomes for mothers and children. Anxiety in pregnancy is associated with shorter gestation and has adverse implications for fetal neurodevelopment and child outcomes.” A study produced by Kate Walsh, PsyD et al., also stated that “maternal prenatal stress influences offspring neurodevelopment and birth outcomes including the ratio of males to females born; however, there is limited understanding of what types of stress matter, and for whom.”However, it only becomes an issue if such anxiety episodes or panic attacks take place regularly and in odd places or situations. This condition is now known as the Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
This disorder can affect the mental health of a pregnant mother and the baby’s body and brain development, as well.
Can The Mother’s Anxiety Disorder Affect The Baby In The Womb?
Though anxiety is quite common to pregnant women, it has a significant effect on how the baby develops and grows, if the mother is experiencing it on a regular basis. A study produced by Kate Walsh, PsyD et al., also stated that “maternal prenatal stress influences offspring neurodevelopment and birth outcomes including the ratio of males to females born; however, there is limited understanding of what types of stress matter, and for whom.”
How To Detect If A Pregnant Woman Has Anxiety
Anxiety, in some mothers, develops slowly until such time that she’ll feel something is uncomfortable and wrong. If you’re pregnant, and you feel anxious all the time, there are ways to know for sure. The red flags on Anxiety Disorder are listed below:
Unusually and uncontrollably anxious
Being worried about specific activities and events
Loses focus and spaces off
Tense and strained even without a valid reason
The panic attacks have similar symptoms. It occurs suddenly, and the worst attack scenario takes at most 10 minutes before the person stops shaking if she doesn’t pass out from the tremors.
Difficulty in breathing
The thought that you’re going insane
These signs can push you into thinking that you are having a heart attack or any other fatal disease.
Anxiety: Is It Common In Pregnant Women?
It is very common. Statistics reveal that one in every ten women in the country experiences this challenging condition.
The Risks Of Developing Anxiety Disorder
Anyone can experience anxiety, but is a list wherein people have higher chances of developing it:
Anxiety attacks in the past
Using illegal drugs
Under severe stress
What To Do With Your Anxiety When Pregnant
If you have signs or symptoms of anxiety, then, you should call your doctor immediately. Here is your checklist:
If you are anxious for about two weeks or even more
If you have quickened heartbeat coupled with excessive sweating, difficulty in breathing, dizzy spells and for some, even diarrhea
If you are experiencing uncontrollable unpleasant thoughts
If you keep doing chores obsessively
If you are terrified of giving birth
Consulting with your attending physician will help in deriving the correct health care treatment for your condition. Having this mental health issue is not your fault, and the medical professionals will not judge you. They will even understand that many pregnant women are prone to anxiety issues.
The bottom line is that you need to get help as soon as possible. The psychiatrist will ask you many questions, and you need to answer all those honestly to draw the right recommendations.
Treatment For Anxiety
Treatment for the disorder will depend on the severity of the condition but usually, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is administered. If you have mild anxiety, then, full-on treatment is not necessary. But then, your doctors will discuss with you on how to efficiently cope with it.
For those who have bee
n actively taking medication before their pregnancy, it is best that you inform your doctor of the prescription as soon as you realize that you’re pregnant.
In addition, Stefan G. Hoffman, PhD, et al., suggested that “reappraisal strategies are more effective than suppression strategies for regulating emotions. Recently, proponents of the acceptance-based behavior therapy movement have further emphasized the importance of acceptance-based emotion regulation techniques.”
Self-Help: How To Cope With Anxiety
Be open to how you feel.
Don’t be embarrassed about your situation.
Learn about relaxation routines and meditation techniques, if you can do it.
Raised blood pressure isn’t something that should be neglected. However, when a woman who’s pregnant develops preeclampsia, now that would be an even bigger problem, as both mother and baby can be possibly in danger. Abnormal eyesight, headaches, and other particular symptoms during pregnancy can be harmless complaints – or they could be warning signs of preeclampsia, which is a pregnancy-induced condition associated with increased blood pressure that develops after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is also referred to as toxemia of pregnancy and is very risky for the mother and the baby as well.
Preeclampsia Types And Symptoms
The two general types are mild preeclampsia, where high blood pressure and increased protein levels are the only symptoms seen, and severe preeclampsia where headaches, vomiting, nausea, and seizures are present along with the symptoms seen from mild preeclampsia. Other equally important symptoms that one should watch out for are abdominal pain and light sensitivity.
On the other hand, all these symptoms mentioned above could be simply due to a woman’s pregnancy, which is why it is vital to visit your primary physician or obstetrician as soon as possible. Although the doctor is going to check you for these symptoms while on your prenatal care phase, it would be better to keep him informed about these symptoms, as they can either be negligible or life-threatening.
Preeclampsia Risk Factors
There are specific risk factors for developing preeclampsia during pregnancy. These include:
When the woman is younger than 20 or over 40 years old.
When she had a prior diagnosis of preeclampsia.
When there is existing hypertension, even before getting pregnant.
If the pregnant woman suffers from other conditions like diabetes, lupus, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
According to Robert D. Martin Ph.D., “Roughly one in ten pre-eclampsia cases develop into the more serious condition of eclampsia.”
If this condition is not addressed as soon as possible, it can destroy the pregnant woman’s placenta, which is the feeding conduit that provides support to the baby. It can also damage the woman’s liver, kidneys, and, ultimately the brain. Additionally, other symptoms that are not common are premature birth, low birth weight, and seizures. “Women at a high risk of mental health issues should get regular screenings, and doctors should treat mental health issues as health concerns, not personal failings,” Joel L. Young M.D. says.
There is no concrete list of ways to prevent preeclampsia. A healthy lifestyle consisting of proper diet, exercise, and visiting your obstetrician regularly will decrease the chances of women developing complications and make sure that preeclampsia and other serious conditions are noticed early on and be capably managed. “Finding healthy ways to reduce stress is an essential part of optimizing the health of mothers-to-be and the development of their babies from conception through the postnatal period,” Ann Diamond Weinstein Ph.D. advised. If your blood pressure has increased over your pregnancy period, you must get the help of your doctor to put this under control through diet, physical activity, and medication.
Doctors state that if preeclampsia exists in the pregnant woman, it depends on the phase of her pregnancy. If she is at term, the baby needs to be delivered. If she is at pre-term, the doctors will try their best possible way to manage the preeclampsia and keep the baby safe until it is developed and can be delivered.
If you are pregnant and diagnosed with preeclampsia before your delivery date, you must be monitored closely by your healthcare team in the hospital or at home. Your doctors might decide that preterm delivery is needed, and medication is administered to help develop your newborn’s lungs before delivery.
Preeclampsia symptoms often disappear within six weeks of delivery, but there are some women whose high blood pressures persist after this time frame. They will now be diagnosed with hypertension.
Though it is difficult to foresee who develops preeclampsia, more knowledge and education about it and its symptoms and regularly going to your prenatal care checkups will tremendously help increase your chances of a healthy and safe pregnancy and delivery.
Having Bulimia Nervosa during pregnancy can indeed create serious complications. Pregnancy is a time wherein a woman’s body is in need of proper nutrition to sustain the life that is growing within her womb. But having the said eating disorder and mental health condition would not allow this phenomenon and will eventually cause life-threatening complications.
Bulimia is the condition wherein the human body rejects the food intake by way of taking it all out in the form of vomiting and excessive exercising. It is a mental health disorder together with anorexia and negative body image issues.
“If you are thinking about getting pregnant, already pregnant or a new mom and have any eating disorder in your past, you’re high risk for anxiety and/or depression during this time, not just a recurrence of the eating disorder,” Shoshana Bennett Ph.D. wrote.
The Serious Effects Of Bulimia
This serious condition can lead to gastrointestinal illnesses and the development of specific cardiovascular diseases. Anybody including pregnant women can experience these ill effects on one’s health. The mother is the one with bulimia; it will not only affect her. The baby will be in serious health peril if the pregnant mom won’t seek treatment for her bulimia.
With the growing baby inside, the mother is in need of many nutrients (vitamins and minerals), but with the said condition that triggers an inconsistent intake of food, it can become a severe problem in an instant. Ginger Nicol, MD and co-authors state that, “Multiple births, low birth weight and increased risk for cesarean section due to complications experienced in labor have also been reported in women with eating disorders .”
The Stress On The Woman’s Body
With a deficiency in nutrients by a pregnant mom due to her battle with bulimia, this can affect the baby’s well-being. Listed below are some facts that can happen to the baby and the mom when she is bulimic:
Indeed, bulimia is an alarming mental health problem for pregnant moms. Hence, women who are suffering from this disorder should see a doctor for proper medical treatment and therapy programs.
Dealing With The Shame And The Guilt
Women, pregnant or not, experience shame or guilt because of bulimia. In a pregnant woman’s case, they tend to shift their focus on their bulimic symptoms instead of their developing baby. It is not a “healthy environment” for the infant because the mother’s body is “messed up.” With this, it is best that the mother should accept that she has a grave problem and must seek professional help. The therapist and doctors will not judge you.
Finding Professional Help And Support
Once you have ascertained that bulimia is taking its toll on you, it is best that you seek professional help at once. You can first have a chat with the OB-GYNE and other medicals professional who has your health history and necessary medical records. Be honest and tell them what you are experiencing and even your fears. “It is vital for anyone who has an unhealthy relationship with food to see a healthcare professional. A qualified doctor will need to address any symptoms or other issues that stem from bulimia,” Judith Marcin, M.D. emphasized. Allow them to assess you so that they can give you precise counseling, therapy and treatment recommendation. It is usually psychotherapy and intake of antidepressants, but pregnant women are not allowed to consume the latter. If you feel that being in a hospital will help your mental state, then, go directly to a medical facility and admit yourself to a doctor’s care.
If Hospitalization Is Needed
The need for hospitalization on pregnant women with bulimia becomes imminent if the patient if overly dehydrated, experiencing electrolyte imbalances, complications in the cardiovascular aspect, and even psychiatric issues. All of these medical problems will directly affect the baby’s health. In most extreme situations, the baby can die. It is best to opt for hospitalization care to get treatment and strict monitoring.
Pregnancy is supposed to be a beautiful life journey. It is a time of love, nurture, care, and excitement. But moms with eating disorders like bulimia will experience the whole thing the other way around. However, you can still taste the joys of motherhood if you choose to accept that you have a mental health problem and that you need professional help at the soonest possible time. Your baby’s life is at stake here.
Getting pregnant at 30 years old and above can, in fact, become more complex and challenging, but it doesn’t need to be. The risks of pregnancy can happen at any age, as it can and even more when you’re in your late 30s. Some of those risks include preterm labor, premature birth, gestational diabetes, cesarean delivery, low birth weight, and preeclampsia. It is vital to discuss your situation with your primary doctor and attend your regular prenatal checkups to ensure you and your baby’s health and safety. “Your physical well-being during pregnancy depends more on who you are than how old you are,” says Dr. Robert H. Berry, MD. The sooner you’ll discover about potential complications, the more choices you can have for treatment. It doesn’t mean to say that just because you are at the age where complications are possible, that you are going to go through one.
According to Jean M Twenge Ph.D., “When a woman over 35 has problems getting pregnant, fertility issues other than age are usually the culprit, including male issues such as sperm count and motility—almost half of fertility problems are due to male issues.”
Genetic examinations are becoming more popular these days. Genetic testing is usually recommended for women in their 30s, but several women below 30 also undergo genetic screening. Reports from the National Down Syndrome Society reveal that women who get pregnant at 30 and above have one out of 940 risks of giving birth to an infant with Down Syndrome. This risk rises at the age of 35, and finally, an 85% chance when the woman gets pregnant in her 40s.
If the tests confirm that your pregnancy has 1 out of 147 chances of delivering a baby with Down syndrome, this will be defined as a positive test. Your risk of having a baby with Down syndrome is higher. Genetic screening will not show with certainty that your newborn does have a genetic problem but simply that it calculates the hazards when compared to your age bracket.
“Even as more women wait until their mid-thirties and early forties to become parents, most physicians consider them to be of “advanced maternal age” and high risk simply because they’re older. In one way, the extra attention paid to each advanced maternal aged patient is reassuring,” Susan Newman Ph.D. explains.
Labor And Delivery
When your pregnancy is confirmed, it is now time to decide whether you should have the baby or not. The reports are the same – going through labor has higher chances of experiencing complications. If this is not your first baby, though, the risks are lower for you compared to the woman between 30 and 40 and having her first baby.
Complications that are associated with pregnancy may be a sign that you will be having quite a difficult time in labor. This increases your risk of delivering through a cesarean method in some cases, although this will mostly depend on your choice of an obstetrician, the location of your delivery (hospital, clinic, etc.), and a stroke of luck.
Your Newborn’s Health
Generally, the risks are not so high for your baby if you are in your early and mid-30s. This does go up as you reach your late 30s, which may also be due to chronic conditions and genetic factors as well. Once you have information about these, you are advised to visit your obstetrician or midwife immediately.
It is true that when you are pregnant in your 30s, your challenges may be more difficult compared to those in their younger years. Regardless, the number of women who decide to give birth in their 30s is increasing, so it would be wise to start healthy by going to your obstetrician for appropriate prenatal care. If you do this and continue to do so throughout your whole pregnancy, your chances of delivering a normal baby are much higher. Be happy for this blessing and seize the opportunity. Appreciate your pregnancy. This is a joyous time in your life.
Unplanned pregnancy always triggers issues – physical, emotional, mental and financial. The case is much worse when it is about teenage pregnancy. Aside from it being unplanned, the mother of the baby is underage and still in their parent’s care. Teenage pregnancy can happen to anyone. With this, people should be open to the topic.
Linda M. Richter, PhD stated that “One of the greatest barriers to assisting young people is their fear and shame about talking to the people who could potentially help them, viz. family, educators and health professionals. To date none of the young women we have seen told such people that they were pregnant until it was too late.”
Freaking out upon the discovery that your teenager is pregnant will not help at all. Instead, it is best that you sit down and have things sorted out in the event it happens. Everything is solvable when people are willing to calm down and talk.
Anyway, below are some tips on how to handle teenage pregnancy efficiently – for the teenager and her parents’ guidance.
Consult A Health Care Provider Or Specialist On Teenage Pregnancy
First, you have to consult the health care provider on teenage pregnancy. Know the limitations and the extent of their services. This way, you will know what services you are eligible to avail of. Ask recommendations from family and friends on who to consult with regarding teenage pregnancy.
Plan Of Action For Pregnant Teens
This action is the phase wherein you have to decide on what to do with the baby. Either you give it up for adoption, or keep it. For some, they also include surgical abortion as an option. Talk to a counselor and ask her to help think this through. Psychiatry sessions and therapy programs will open your mind to the issue. Take into consideration all the pros and cons of each choice, and decide which is best for you.
Be Ready To Face The Consequences Of Teenage Pregnancy
If you decide to keep the baby, then you have to prepare for the big responsibility that hangs alongside it. Raising a baby and taking care of your child while you’re also a “child” yourself is challenging. You have to be prepared for the additional work brought about by child-rearing. Consider the possibility that you will be spending fewer hours with your friends and more hours changing diapers and more.
Stress That Comes With Teenage Pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy can bring in a lot of stress – physically, financially and emotionally as well. With this, you will need the support of your family and the father of the child, if he is still in the picture. Note that you cannot do this alone. You need someone to help you out on this journey.
If your parents and baby daddy are not willing to help you out, then you have to suck it up and put on your big girl panties. Get involved in a support group. Support groups can help you face the situation with square shoulders. It may be tough, but the group will make sure that you get through this. You can also talk to a psychiatrist for mental health help.
Interestingly enough, Stefanie Mollborn, Ph.D presents that “psychological distress does not appear to be caused by teen childbearing, nor does it cause teen childbearing, except apparently among girls from poor households.” In addition, “Young men involved in adolescent pregnancies were more psychologically distressed as young adults than those who did not have a girlfriend become pregnant in adolescence,” state Mary Buchanan, PhD and co-author. Further scientific studies would definitely be beneficial to understanding the psychological aspect of teenage pregnancy.
Ensuring A Healthy Pregnancy
Pregnancy is all about the baby and you. With this, you need to get yourself healthy and active enough to carry on with the 9-month journey. You need to have a regular checkup with the OB-GYNE, drink preggy vitamins, and maintain a healthy diet program with some bit of exercise on the side. Whatever your situation may be, always bear in mind that you and the baby are the priority. It is also your obligation and role as the mother to safeguard the baby’s welfare even before birth.
Teenage pregnancy is indeed not easy. Stick to your decision, accept the reality of it, and then move on. It will become less stressful for you.
New studies and clinical trials have proven that women who are 30 and above currently give birth at higher rates compared to women who are in their 20s. The Centers for Disease Control reports that the rate for women between 30 and 34 years old giving birth was increased to 102.6/1000 in 2019 from 101.5/1000 in 2015. In the 35-39-year-old bracket, there was an increase as well, but only at slower strides. The younger batches of between 25 and 29 years old, on the other hand, showed a decreased rate of childbirth from 104.3/1000 to 101.9/1000 over the past five years. These new data confirm that women 30 years old and above are now delivering more babies compared before, while the younger generation of women is currently slowing down on childbirth.
If you are a woman over 30, then this article is for you. Read on, learn, and understand. Finally, once you’ve absorbed everything, you can decide if you are ready to get pregnant.
Getting Pregnant In Your 30s
Generally, there is a little decline in the fertility of women when they reach the age of 32. However, this decline will increase rapidly when they have reached 37. They are more fertile, on the other hand, when they are in their 20s, but currently, as mentioned above, the trend indicates that more women are now willing to wait until they are 30 and above to have babies. They have become more career-oriented and more determined to become financially stable before they give birth.
According to university professors Melinda Mills, Ph.D., and Ronald Rindfuss, Ph.D, “Women’s increased education is linked to later ages at childbearing, which is attributed to difficulties in balancing student and mother roles as well as the fact that better-educated women are more likely to pursue careers that entail a steeper career ladder and more investment in human capital. Young adults may also delay childbearing until their income increases and they can ‘afford’ children, but also to avoid the ‘wage penalty’ of early motherhood.”
Sadly, the longer they delay this, the more difficult it becomes to get pregnant. Also important to know is that a man’s fertility is as much affected when they grow older too.
There are about 30% of women over 35 who seek the help of a fertility doctor. This percentage increases with age. This simply means that the earlier you ask for help, the more chances you have for having a baby. This could be anything from taking oral medications to just monitoring your ovulation, down to in vitro fertilization. You may be concerned about the quality of your egg cells. Have them tested so you will be aware of the status of your ovulation? Apparently, without the help of a fertility doctor, your chances of getting pregnant would be about 20%.
Higher Likelihood For Twins
Evidence-based reports show that the likelihood of delivering twins as you grow older is higher compared to getting pregnant below 30 years old. This is due to the erratic condition of your hormones as you age. The hormonal increase becomes more significant when you reach 35 and above, which may also be due to fertility treatments if you are going through one.
Taking Care Of Your Pregnancy
While it is true that all pregnancies carry the risk of miscarriage, the risk increases as a woman’s age go up. A lot of miscarriages are caused by chromosomal dysfunctions, and the likelihood of babies having these dysfunctions increases with the age of the mom, especially after she reaches 35.
Additionally, you are most likely to be at risk of miscarriage if you have an existing chronic condition, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, or high blood pressure. You should keep yourself healthy before you get pregnant to reduce further risk. Thus, you must consult with your healthcare provider for a workup before trying to conceive.
Physical And Emotional Changes
Undoubtedly, there are going to changes that will happen to your body when you get pregnant. As you grow older, the physical changes that will occur will be more challenging for you to deal with. If you can, you must stay physically active throughout your pregnancy, which is possible, especially if you were already physically active a few years back. Don’t let your pregnancy stop you from exercising and keeping yourself healthy.
Susan Newman, Ph.D., confirms with a past research that women who plan on giving birth later in life have boosted brainpower. She says, “it’s also plausible that later pregnancies protect against cognitive decline. Researchers at the University of Southern California found that women have “better brainpower after menopause” if they had their last baby after age 35. “
If you ask a woman friend or family who has experienced pregnancy, they would tell you that pregnancy alters your moods and emotions. You can still blame this on hormonal changes, though mood and emotion can change whether or not you are pregnant. If you have friends who are also pregnant, luckily, you have a group you can reach out to with the same experiences, making your pregnant life a little easier than expected.
Laura M. Glynn, Ph.D. surmises, “At no other time in a woman’s life does she experience such massive hormonal fluctuations as during pregnancy. Research suggests that the reproductive hormones may ready a woman’s brain for the demands of motherhood—helping her becomes less rattled by stress and more attuned to her baby’s needs.”
Getting pregnant at a later age of 30 and above does pose several risks, so if you have the chance to plan it all out, there’s no harm at all in consulting your doctor about it. He can help you make your pregnancy journey less stressful and more meaningful for you.
When you’re welcoming a baby very soon, it will surely be emotional for you and the rest of the family. However, it will be difficult if you have just been diagnosed with a mental illness, such as depression. Your doctor would recommend you to be on antidepressant therapy while you’re pregnant, or perhaps after you give birth, possibly for postnatal depression. On the other hand, if you’ve already been taking antidepressants and plan to be pregnant anytime soon, you must visit your doctor and discuss this matter. He is the best person who can provide you with the necessary information about issues such as these, or he will possibly refer you to a specialist.
Below is a list of questions that you might have about your current or future pregnancy plans and whether or not it is necessary to take prescription medications for your mental and emotional well-being.
Are There Benefits Of Taking Antidepressants While I’m Pregnant?
During pregnancy, you are mainly responsible for taking extra care of yourself and the baby inside your womb. If you think that not taking the prescribed medications, including antidepressants, would disrupt the already ‘normal’ status of your mental health and leads you to more harm than good, then your most sensible move for both you and your baby is, of course, to continue taking these medications.
But you have to make sure that you weigh the risks it has on your baby against the possible dangers of stopping the medication, then you finally decide on what’s best from your experience and your doctor’s recommendation. You will feel confused about this, and it would be wise for you to look for more support such as family and friends during this time.
Question From A Mom
I was diagnosed with depression when I found out I was pregnant, and I was scared that I would not be capable of taking care of my baby with my mental illness. So I decided to take an antidepressant. Up until now, I feel that I am better, and I can better manage my mood and behavior because of it. But what are the risks of what I’m doing?
The possible risks include but are not limited to:
Higher likelihood of premature births and miscarriage.
Potential congenital disabilities. Some studies have proven that taking SSRIs in the early stages of pregnancy increases the risk of the baby to have spina bifida, heart abnormalities, and cleft lip or palate.
Withdrawal symptoms are seen in the infant, especially when the mother has been taking antidepressants during the late stages of her pregnancy. Symptoms like irritability, restlessness, fever, poor muscle tone, high blood pressure in the lungs, and difficulty breathing.
Other uncommon risks, like taking a new kind of drug.
The risks mentioned above are much higher during the first trimester and the later portion of the third trimester when the baby is more sensitive and susceptible.
What If Taking Medication Is Of Paramount Importance?
If you think you need to take your antidepressants, you are not allowed to take it directly without first consulting your primary physician. He will advise you on which drugs have fewer side effects than others.
“For many women with severe major depression, treatment with an antidepressant is not optional, just like treatment with insulin is not optional for a woman with (type 1) diabetes,” says Kimberly Yonkers, MD. “To give these women the message that treatment is optional and that it doesn’t work anyway does us all a disservice.”
What About Taking Antidepressant While Breastfeeding?
If you’re a mom or a soon-to-be mom, you know that breast milk is best for your baby, but it’s going to be a tough decision for you if you’ve been taking antidepressants and you’re not planning to stop. “It’s important to talk to your doctor before stopping or switching any medication,” says Lucy Puryear, MD. Keep these in mind:
Breastfeeding has specific benefits for your baby, including boosting your immune system, providing more nutrients than cow’s milk, and improving parent-baby relationships. “There are clear benefits to breastfeeding,” says Zachary Stowe, MD. “If it’s important to the woman, it should be their decision.”
Breastfeeding carries the potential danger that the drug might be consumed by the baby through the mother’s milk and may produce side effects.
Are There Healthier Substitutes To Medication?
There are healthier and safer alternatives to antidepressant therapy, but you should first inform your doctor if you would like to try these substitutes to reduce depressive symptoms.
If you don’t want to take the risk of medicating while you’re pregnant, you can access some alternative therapies with the help of your doctor. One common alternative is meditation, a practice that involves mindfulness and concentration. You are guided through a 15 to 30-minute breathing exercise that will produce relaxation and stress relief. Other therapies include yoga, light massage, and acupuncture.
Other Support Networks
Deciding what’s right for you and your baby can be hard, which is why you will need all the support you can get. Your family and friends are among the first people that you run to for mental, emotional, and even financial help. You are most comfortable with them so you can talk about how you feel and express your worries and anxieties.
Online groups like websites for first-time moms or mothers who are willing to share their experiences are great tools for you to gather more knowledge about pregnancy and to manage mental health conditions.
As a mother, you are your baby’s comfort and ally, the only one that can protect it from harmful forces in the outside world. It is only right that you make your baby your priority in anything, even when you’re dealing with your mental health.
Pregnancy is one of the amazing stages in a woman’s life. It is a time full of love and excitement, especially when you are near to giving birth. It is also a time where you have a whirlwind of emotions because your hormones are spiking up and down, and you cannot control how you feel. “Anxiety, depression, and stress in pregnancy are risk factors for adverse outcomes for mothers and children. Anxiety in pregnancy is associated with shorter gestation and has adverse implications for fetal neurodevelopment and child outcomes,” stresses Christine Schetter, PhD.
Sometimes, you don’t understand where all of your feelings are coming from. Without the proper support, your mental state can go crumbling down, and it can be a massive problem for you and the baby you are carrying. “The womb is an influential first home, as important as the one a child is raised in, if not more so,” says study leader Catherine Monk, PhD. This is what psychologists fear, which is why they recommend treatment.