Pregnancy And Your Mental Well-Being – Psychologists Recommend Treatment

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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.

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The Best Foods to Eat During the Last Trimester of Pregnancy

 

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Pregnancy lasts for forty weeks and they are divided into three trimesters. The 28th week to the 40th week is the third and final trimester of pregnancy. The third trimester can be the most stressful one because you’re anxious and trying to prepare for childbirth and organizing the home to be a baby-friendly one.

 

Changes That are Experienced During the Last Trimester of Pregnancy:

You might notice somebody changes during the last trimester. Here are some changes:

  • Swollen feet, ankles, fingers and sometimes even the face.
  • Your baby will move a lot more during this trimester.
  • Your uterus might tighten occasionally, it’s not unbearably painful. This is called Braxton Hicks.
  • Some might have difficulty with sleeping.
  • Your breasts can also start getting tender and sometimes you might leak watery milk.
  • The need to urinate more often.

 

Some Tips to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy:

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  • Exercise, even if it’s just by walking. However, don’t over exert yourself or perform any strenuous exercises.
  • Consume your prenatal vitamins that are prescribed by your doctor.
  • Have plenty of rest and also get lots of sleep, you’ll miss this after your baby is born.
  • Take care of your dental health, poor dental health is linked to premature labor.
  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and drugs. This is obvious.
  • Oily, greasy and junk foods.
  • Raw fish.
  • Long distance car trips and even flights.

 

What Foods You Need to Include in Your Diet:

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It’s important to eat healthy foods throughout pregnancy and especially during the third trimester when you are so close to giving birth. According to Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. “Food is important, not just for our physical health but also for our mind.” Here’s a list of foods and vitamins that are vital to have during the third trimester of pregnancy:

 

Protein:

With your body changing rapidly, you need enough protein to get you through these changes. Including more proteins can also decrease the chances of diabetes. Here are some foods that are rich in protein: fish, meat, beans, dairy products, and eggs.

Iron:

Iron-rich foods are extremely important to consume during pregnancy especially the final stages. This is because pregnant women tend to lose iron during pregnancy. Lack of iron causes anemia, which leads to dizziness, feeling week and fatigue. Your unborn baby also requires iron for their development. Here are some foods that are rich sources of iron: red meats such as steak and lamb, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, kale, broccoli, etc. Some other sources of iron are seeds, beans, dates, and poultry.

 

Calcium:

Calcium-rich foods are required for the unborn baby’s bone development. Calcium is also great for increasing your milk supply, to ensure that you consume them even after giving birth. Some calcium-rich foods are dairy products, tofu, almonds, and salmon. “Around 99 percent of the calcium in the human body is found in the bones and teeth; it is essential for the development, growth, and maintenance of bone,” Nancy Choi, M.D. explains.

 

Fruits and Vegetables:

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These are extremely nutritious and they are packed with vitamins and minerals. All the nutrients that are required for both mom and baby. They also help with keeping you hydrated. You can also make smoothies, fruit salads, include them in your oatmeal or you can eat them on its own. “Sufficient intake of fruits and vegetables has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases and body weight,” Rajesh Jeewon and co-author wrote.

Magnesium:

This helps with repairing damaged tissues and it also helps with the absorption of calcium. It also helps with reducing the risks of premature birth. So, ensure to get plenty of magnesium-rich foods. Here are some magnesium-rich foods: oats, avocados, nuts, legumes, pumpkin seeds, almonds, barley, and beans.

 

Nuts:

Nuts make great snacks and they are also very healthy. If you don’t have an appetite, then you can always snack on nuts. You can try having some almonds, pistachios, walnuts, etc.

 

Vitamin C, B6, and B12:

These are essential for the growth of your baby and also the placenta. Here are some foods that are high in these vitamins: citrus foods, chickpeas, bananas, whole grain cereals, and fresh fruit juices.

 

 

Natural Birth vs C-Section

After you have received the wonderful news that you are expecting a bundle of joy. You might be wondering how to bring your bundle into this world. It’s one of the things that you need to decide. In today’s times, we have a choice of giving birth naturally or having a C-section. Both births have pros and cons. Before deciding, you might want to have a closer look at both options. You should also plan ahead so that you can make the necessary hospital bookings etc.

 

The Pros of a Natural Birth:

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Natural birth was the only way of giving birth around 50 years ago. Besides that, you can recover much quicker from a natural birth than a C-section. You are also much more likely to spend less time in the hospital. Moms get a natural high after delivering her baby and it also strengthens the bond between mom and baby. The mom can also feed her baby after birth. Babies are also less likely to suffer from breathing problems at birth. All or most of the water and fluids get pushed out during delivery.

 

The Cons of a Natural Birth:

Apart from it being a painful experience, there’s a chance that women can suffer from vaginal tearing. The tissues and skin around the vaginal area can tear. If the mother has been in labor for a long period of time, the baby is at risk of being born with a bruised scalp. 

“Every delivery, whether you use pain medications or not, has a risk of complications, such as heavy blood loss or issues with the umbilical cord. These complications may be harder to detect or treat without medical intervention,” Deborah Weatherspoon, PhD explains.

The Pros of a C-Section:

 

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The risk of the mom being traumatized is much lower than giving birth naturally. The trauma risk is much lower than a natural birth, especially if something goes wrong. C-sections are also scheduled which makes it more convenient than waiting to into labor. If the mom has an STD or HIV, the chances to these infections passing onto the baby is reduced. With C-section births, you won’t suffer from vaginal tearing and episiotomy.

 

The Cons of a C-Section Birth:

More blood is lost during a C-section birth than a natural delivery. The babies are more likely to have respiratory problems such as asthma. It also takes much longer for the mom to recover from a C-section birth than a natural delivery. You also must stay in the hospital a little longer. “You are really going to feel worn down and tired after a C-section, and on top of that you have a newborn baby to take care of, so the load and the demand on your body is very high,” Iffath Hoskins, MD says.

At times, the baby is premature and the C-section is performed too early. Breastfeeding is also more difficult, because of the pain and discomfort. The risks of post-partum infections are also much greater. Babies that have been delivered by C-section may still have water in their lungs, during a normal delivery the water usually gets squeezed and pushed out. Children that are born by C-section are also more likely to suffer from obesity. The babies that are born by C-section are also exposed to a more sterile environment, whereas with babies that are born by a natural delivery are exposed to gut bacteria. This gut bacteria helps them with fighting off allergies. C-sections are also more costly than natural births. In some complicated cases, there’s a risk of the surgeon cutting your bladder and bowels accidently. There’s also a risk of blood clotting in the veins for the mom.

When Are Emergency C-Sections Performed:

In some cases, an emergency C-section might be required. This can happen for a number of reasons such as:

 

  • Issues with either the umbilical cord or placenta.
  • The baby’s heart rate decreases or their movement decreases.
  • Labor is taking too long or not progressing.
  • Some babies might be too big to fit through the birth canal.
  • When the baby breached.

 

Conclusion:

 

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Weigh all the pros and cons accordingly. You should also consult your doctor or gynecologist for further advice on which birthing option is most suitable for you. “Safety certainly matters and women should discuss their intentions and expectations with their health care providers,” Elizabeth Aura McClintock Ph.D. notes. It’s also recommended that you have skin to skin contact with your baby directly after birth. Wish you the best of luck on your birthing journey!

 

Importance Of Mental Wellness For Pregnant Women

 

 Life-changing nine months like no other. These are nine months of putting your life at stake for another human being. You see your body continually adjust every day, and it’s a scary yet exciting experience. While what people see are just the physical changes, the nine months of seeing your body accommodate another human being is also an emotional whirlwind. Mary L. Gavin, MD further supports this by saying that “Pregnancy brings a mix of feelings, and not all of them are good. If you’re feeling worried, you’re not alone. Worry is common, especially during a woman’s first pregnancy or an unplanned one. It can be even harder if you’re dealing with depression or anxiety.”

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Thus, more than the physical changes, preggos should also monitor their mental wellbeing. Check some of these key points about why mental wellness is vital for you and your baby.

 

Remember That Mental Wellbeing Is As Important As Physical Wellbeing

In the midst of all your baby preparations, you might be putting your life on hold. Your mental wellbeing should be of equal importance as your physical wellbeing. A majority of moms suffer from anxiety even before childbirth and don’t do anything about it. According to Joel L. Young M.D., “We do know that, left untreated, some mental health disorders can lead to women making unwise choices that compromise their health and their baby’s, such as drinking or using recreational drugs.”

 

If you are visiting your obstetrician at least once a month for your physical workup, why not visit your psychiatrist once a month as well? In doing this, you will be mentally prepared for the arrival of your baby.

 

Remember, your child also feels everything that you are feeling. If you are happy during your pregnancy, chances are your child will be a happy camper too. On the other hand, if you feel anxious most of the time about your pregnancy, your child’s mental and emotional development will be negatively affected as well. Katherine Wisner, MD reminds colleagues about treating patients, “If you’re going to treat a pregnant woman with a medicine, you owe it to her to treat her effectively, because the justification is reducing that disease burden. We don’t want to treat women partway. We want to reduce that disease burden fully.”

 

Prevent Postpartum Depression And After-Childbirth Issues

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A lot of new mothers suffer from different mental health issues after childbirth. Due to their additional roles, trauma from childbirth, and taking care of a newborn, some moms even suffer from depression. If left unaddressed, postpartum depression can adversely affect both mother and child. Some mothers tend to take postpartum depression lightly. They think that the baby’s needs are more important than their own emotional wellbeing.

 

Do you remember the story about the mother who left her home out of the blue and went for suicide? However, this story is a concrete example of the reality of postpartum depression: unless you take action, depression can lead to suicide.

 

Put in mind that you cannot give the best care for your child if you are unwell. Don’t worry too much! There is still hope. As an expectant mother, you can still prevent postpartum mental health problems from happening to you.

 

What You Can Do

Now that you know that mental wellness is essential, especially for pregnant women, you might be asking: what should I do?

 

  • Enjoy Your Time Alone

When did you have your last breather? Take time to relax and enjoy. Put your list of things to buy and things to do on hold. Appreciate your surroundings by going around your neighborhood. You can also go for window shopping in a mall.

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  • Talk To Your Husband Or Partner

If you are already overwhelmed with your upcoming responsibilities or you are anxious because of your growing belly, share your feelings with your husband or partner. You can discuss your worries with your partner over dinner or while doing your afternoon walk. You will surely feel relieved after.

 

  • Eat Healthily

What you eat during your pregnancy also affects your emotional wellbeing. Try eating balanced meals every day and see how it changes your daily outlook.

 

  • Sleep Well

Don’t underestimate the power of sleep. If you have a full rest, you will feel more energized. Meanwhile, if you get less than 7 hours of sleep daily, your baby’s development will be affected.

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  • Seek Therapy

Going for therapy is one of the best decisions you can make for your mental wellbeing. When you have a trusted and professional confidante, you will feel more relaxed. Moreover, your therapist will help you ease into your new role as a mother.

 

In summary, maintaining mental wellness is needed by all pregnant women. While most pregnant women tend to focus on their physical health, mental wellness is essential in taking care of your baby. If you take care of your mental health during pregnancy, you can also prevent having mental health issues after your delivery.

 

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Dealing With Depression Caused By Unwanted Pregnancy

 

Experiencing an unwanted pregnancy might be one of the biggest challenges one may face. Coming to terms with this unplanned event may give an intense emotional dilemma to a woman. This stress may even intensify more when a woman is not in a relationship. This lack of support from a partner sometimes leads to mental health disorders, specifically depression. Hilary S. Connery, M.D., Ph.D. and co-authors say that “Unplanned pregnancies are associated with higher rates of maternal infections, obstetric complications, low birth weight, childhood growth stunting, poor child development, and subsequent child abuse or neglect.”

Depression Caused By Unwanted Pregnancy

For some, pregnancy is one of the happiest happenings in a woman’s life. However, for those women who experience an unwanted pregnancy, this phase might be a time of fear, stress, and confusion. “The pregnant woman may also have worries about the delivery of her baby or about her inadequacy as a mother,” states Amy Kranzler, PhD.

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During pregnancy, some women experience antepartum depression. It is caused by the hormone changes which significantly affect the chemicals in the brain. This process usually leads to anxiety and depression. Add to this depression the stress brought about by the unwanted pregnancy, and most likely, these women will face a more serious case of depression.

Women in this challenging phase usually experience the following symptoms for a minimum of 2 weeks:

  • Difficulty in concentrating, focusing, and thinking
  • Unable to sleep properly
  • Persistent sadness
  • Regular thoughts of suicide, death, and hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Panic attacks and anxiety
  • Change in eating habits
  • Lacking energy
  • Feeling irritable most of the time

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Steps To Deal With Depression

Anyone who experiences depression might find themselves lost. Hence, knowing the steps to deal with this mental health illness is critical to overcoming this kind of depression.

  • One of the most important things is to look for emotional support. This support can be your partners or any family member. Make sure to talk to people that you trust, so it is easier to overcome the sadness and emotional rollercoaster. Joining support groups may also help gain more emotional support.
  • Consider counseling. If you are having difficulty in making a decision, seeking help from professional counselors may help. Experiencing unwanted pregnancies sometimes lead to feeling ambivalence and resentment towards the baby. Counseling may guide someone to sort out these feelings.

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  • Changing some lifestyle factors may also address this mental health problem. These changes include having a healthy diet, reducing stress, engaging in regular exercise, and learning relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga.
  • Another treatment includes taking medications, particularly antidepressants. However, you must first consult a professional before trying this kind of approach. Medications have some unwanted effects on newborns like heart problems, physical malformations, low birth weight, and pulmonary hypertension. Hence, individuals should not rely on this kind of approach.
  • Herbal remedies also positively affect moods and the hormone serotonin. Pregnant women should seek help from their nutritionists what kind of remedies to take. It is essential to not use these supplements without the go signal of professionals since some remedies clash with other medications taken by pregnant women.

Adenike Bitto, MD and collaborators explain that, “Pregnancy intention connotes the complex process dealing with the desire of an individual or a couple to achieve or avoid conception.” If faced with an unwanted pregnancy, it is essential to take the points above seriously. Engaging yourself with these practices may help overcome the depression you are feeling and figure out the best solution for both you, as a mother, and your baby.

 

Reasons Why New York Is The Best Place To Be A Psychologist

 

 

If you are considering New York as a place to practice being a psychologist, then you’re most likely deciding for the best. As someone who has years of experience in the profession, I can genuinely say that this is probably the most rewarding career path ever. You might feel that I’m a little bit biased for I have been in this career path for a long time now, but rest assured that I am as objective as I can be.

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Before I start discussing my reasons why I consider New York as the best place to be a psychologist, I want to state a disclaimer first. Remember that when I’m talking about this profession, I am referring to private practice—not working in a clinic, hospital, or school setting. I’m not belittling those who are taking their practices in these avenues. Instead, I’m just not exposed and credible enough to generalize the practice of psychology in those contexts.

Being A Psychologist In New York

There are several reasons why being a psychologist in this city is the best experience someone could ask for. Let me share some with you.

  • You get to meet the most talented, dynamic, and brilliant people in the world. New York is a state which caters to almost EVERY job position in the whole world. Because of the diverse environment the city offers, you will most likely encounter different types of personalities. You might meet people from seven different countries all in one day. It is an excellent avenue for you to expand your knowledge regarding people’s behavior and their culture.
  • Being a psychologist in New York also helps you become an expert about the city without even putting so much effort into it. The diversity of your audience gives you a platform that teaches you about city life, fashion, latest trends, art, and anything about New York. For example, you get to talk with your clients about various theater acts after they watch the show or you get to learn from them regarding their latest technological innovation at work.
  • You also will feel that you are making a difference in the world through this role. Since you get to meet various individuals in different fields, you’ll think that you contribute to the world’s betterment if you get to help your clients in their problems. For example, I had a session with an environmentalist who was not in the best condition when I met her. Luckily, she was able to recover from her problems after our series of sessions. Now, she’s spearheading the best environmental initiatives in the city. It makes me feel that I have contributed to these initiatives by helping her.

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How To Be A Psychologist In New York

You now have a peek on how the life of a New York psychologist goes. If you believe that the big city is indeed the best place to practice the profession, then familiarizing yourself with the process of obtaining your professional license is crucial.

Step 1: Obtain a doctoral degree in psychology.

After graduating from your undergraduate degree, you need to get a doctoral degree. The state wants to make sure that their psychologists are exposed enough with the ins and outs of the profession. Note, however, that you should only take programs that are registered as “licensure-qualifying” to get accredited.

Step 2: Accomplish the experience requirements.

Before you get your license, you have to reach the experience requirements first. You must accomplish at least two years’ worth of experience, equivalent to 1750 work hours per year. There are two options on how to go about this:

  • Teach psychology in a college or university.
  • Take part in a university-approved doctoral-level field experience, research, internship, or practicum. Research work for your thesis or dissertation does not count as working hours.

Step 3: Pass the psychologist licensure examination.

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The Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) handled by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards is the only industry-specific test that caters to psychologists. The EPPP covers several topics, these being the following:

  • Research methods and statistics
  • Biological bases of behavior
  • Treatment, intervention, prevention, and supervision
  • Cognitive-affective bases of behavior
  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Social and cultural bases of behavior
  • Growth and lifespan development
  • Ethical/legal/professional issues

Being a psychologist in the Big Apple is indeed the most significant thing that has ever happened to me. I know that you’ll have doubts somewhere along the way, but always remember that pushing for this career path is not only fun and exciting but also rewarding.

 

6 Ways To Beat Anxiety During Pregnancy

 

A few weeks or months ago, you were so thrilled to see two adjacent lines on your pregnancy test. Now, you might be feeling restless, worried, and unable to sleep because of the paranoia that something might go wrong. During this time, you might be experiencing various changes in your body and even in your whole life—random people touching your belly, your family treating you like a princess, and your partner panicking with you.

Believe it or not, anxiety is common during pregnancy. However, it is essential that this problem does not rule your life. There are several ways on how to beat pregnancy anxiety. Here are some which you can use to cope with your thoughts and emotions during this stage.

Look For Support

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If you are experiencing this feeling, you should talk to someone with what you are feeling. Your partner, family, or friends may be able to provide you with some support. You do not have to tell them everything; just releasing what you feel may help you ease your head a little bit.

If you do not have the courage to consult these people, you may also seek the help of a professional therapist who is trained to address these kinds of problem. You can even look for those who specialize in servicing pregnancy women.

Meditate

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“Mediation is an easy and simple way to help deal with some of these challenges, making this memorable journey enjoyable.” says Dr. Sherry Ross, M.D., OB-GYN and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. If you have not tried meditation before, now is the perfect time to start. Meditation is an effective way to put out some stress and calm you. The goal of meditation is to alleviate your pregnancy anxiety by quieting your mind for a certain period. It might be difficult to attain, especially for beginners, but practicing on a regular basis will help you achieve this peace of mind.

To guide you, all you need is to position yourself in a quiet area for a minimum of 10 minutes. Some people prefer meditating in the morning so they can live peacefully throughout the day. However, others choose to do this before they go to sleep. The important thing is to make sure to meditate every day, preferably at the same time as well.

Choose A Doctor You Trust

It is crucial to look for a clinic and doctor whom you can trust. This way, you will be able to feel safe throughout your pregnancy. You should find yourself comfortable asking questions about the pregnancy and calling about concerns outside clinic hours. If ever your doctor is condescending and dismissive, make sure to see another doctor.

A piece of advice: if your doctor is not worried, you do not have to worry either. It means that you are going through normal pregnancy situations to the point that your doctor is confident with this since he or she has encountered many similar instances with that of yours.

Cut Down Your Stress

“Pregnant women need to be educated in recognizing when they have stress, the consequences and some of the simple things they can do to make a difference.” says Dr. Calvin Hobel, MD, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Cedars Sinai and a professor of obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Stress at work and home always increases anxiety. Even though you cannot avoid some degree of stress, it is still important to look for ways to reduce stress. Here are some suggestions for you to do:

  • Lessen your work hours if possible. Try to consult your bosses regarding this decision.
  • Make a schedule for your whole day. Doing this will help maximize your time and eventually avoid stressful happenings.
  • Ask help from your partner, friends, and families when it comes to errands and tasks in your home and work. This way, you will be able to lighten your load.

Exercise

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“We know that exercise can, and does, alter brain chemicals such as endocannabinoids, GABA and glutamate, helping to improve both anxiety and depression,” says Dr Lynne Drummond, Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer with South West London and St George’s NHS Mental Health Trust.  It is important to find activities where you can release your stress and anxiety. Physical activities release endorphins in your body which serve as natural painkillers inside your brain. Moving your body through yoga, jogging, running, or any other sport can help you with this. Any activity which gets your body moving can help you with this process.

For its full effectivity, doctors recommend dedicating at least 10 minutes of any kind of aerobic activity. However, it is crucial to speak with a professional with the best exercise routine which will not negatively affect the pregnancy.

Create A Journal

There may be times that you are not comfortable talking about your feelings, but it is essential that all of those emotions go somewhere. This way, it won’t build up inside you.

Starting a journal may be the best way to let out your thoughts without having to be scared of the fear of judgment. Writing these helps you reflect and organize all of your worries. It can help you track your stressors and triggers which your doctor can use to craft the best strategy for your recovery.

Anxiety during pregnancy is normal. However, you have to remember that what alleviates another individual’s anxiety might not lessen yours. Hence, it is important to try different strategies for you to be able to figure out what works for you.

 

Prenatal Depression And PTSD – It Is Possible (Personal Story)

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When I learned that I was pregnant with my second child, you could say I was happy. She was seven weeks inside my womb, and I also have this beautiful four-year-old girl who filled my heart every single day. It was a surprise for my husband and me to have another baby, but you could say that financially we were ready. Physically, my body was okay. I was 27 at that time when I felt my heart squeezing from inside of me. But our family doctor told me months on a routine checkup that there’s nothing wrong. I was physically healthy. What I failed to do was a consultation with a therapist. I didn’t know that I was battling mental health issues at that time, since before I got pregnant with my second baby because I kept a secret.

“One thing that often gets overlooked in the mad dash to motherhood is more important than any outfit or accessory: mental health,” writes Kristen Scarlett, LMHC.

If I told my husband that I was having problems with a co-worker, he would tell me to stop working. We always talk about this – me working when I don’t have to – he doesn’t like the idea, but he lets me do it. He can provide for me and our family. He even gives me my allowance, but you know, as a working woman, I’m used to providing for myself.

Since college, I earned my keep, paid my bills and bought my things. Even my parents would insist that they gave me money, but I would not accept it. I never leaned on a man, until I got married, because I can take care of myself, but he wanted to take care of me. It was a rough transition at first, him paying for everything and giving me money, but I bargained for my work. And I won on that matter. It’s just that, when this problem arose with my co-worker, I didn’t want him to know. I didn’t want him to find out. I kept it a secret from him because I didn’t want him to say, “I told you so.”

 

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The problem started last year with this guy co-worker of mine. I never showed interest, but as my supervisor told me, “You’re such a friendly person, Laura.” Friendly doesn’t mean flirty, and to that co-worker, he thought, I was flirting.

The traumatic event happened during our Christmas Party. On the way to the comfort room, I didn’t know that he followed me. He was drunk as hell, and well, I was on the tipsy side after three glasses of red wine. He got me from behind, pushed me on top of the sink, spread my legs while he positioned himself, hugged me tightly by my waist and kissed me torridly. I froze for a few seconds, and I literally didn’t move, but when my senses hit me, I backed away, pushed him with all my might and shouted, STOP IT, LET ME GO.

“Often recipients of sexual harassment are very embarrassed and don’t want to talk about it to anyone,” writes Audrey Nelson Ph.D.

It was such a blessing that one of our bosses was entering the CR at that time and she witnessed what happened. In short, he got fired, and I was retained. The CCTV also validated my statement of him assaulting me and to avoid embarrassment; I was transferred to another department upon my request. I also asked everyone who knew about the incident (people who were on the disciplinary board) to keep mum about what happened, as I didn’t want people in the office to talk about me.

 

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They told me to see a therapist, but I declined to say that all is fine. Well, all wasn’t fine. For months, I have struggled with sleeping, and when I see that comfort room, I freeze. Everything goes back to that night. I can’t breathe. Sometimes, I can’t sleep well. In some days, I shake with fear, and it continued when I got pregnant.

“Sexual assault is traumatic. Similar to other traumatic experiences, it is normal for a person to experience trauma-reaction symptoms in the weeks following an assault,” writes Elyssa Barbash Ph.D.

The episodes were intense, and this made my husband worried for me. He brought me to his cousin who also happened to be a psychologist. I had to let it all out. My husband was so angry at him and a bit towards me for not telling him right away. He hugged me and told me that he loves me so much and wants the world for me, but I shouldn’t have kept it a secret. I shouldn’t have shut him out. And because of that, I suffered. I developed PTSD and prenatal depression, according to the psychologist. For now, I am still coping with these issues through the help of a specialist and the love of my husband and child.

If you’ve been assaulted, don’t keep it a secret. Tell your loved one right away so that they can assist you in finding the right mental health help, and support you throughout your journey to betterment.

 

Teenage Mom: Is She Ready? How Can You Help Her?

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Having a new baby requires a lot of adjustments and changes in the family. In a normal situation, these changes can be tiring, but it is rewarding as well. But in the case wherein your teenage child is the one having her baby, it is an entirely different story. She may even need online therapy to support her mental health during this difficult stage in her life.

Though teenage pregnancy is quite a trend these days, parents of the teenager are also having a hard time coping with the new setup. “Single pregnant women can get social and emotional support from friends, family and community members, and from mental health professionals. Such non-partner sources of support have been found to have a significant positive impact when utilized correctly and they should follow similar guidelines,” Guy Winch Ph.D. explains.

Emotions

The moment your teenage child tells you that she’s having a baby, your feelings would run wild. It is understandable that frustration and disappointment would first sink in. In the later run, some parents would dwell on denial, or embarrassment while some would carry the guilt of not guiding their child correctly. “Previous research has attributed a girl’s increased risk of pregnancy to the possible consequences of a father leaving–lower family income, conflict at home and weak parental monitoring.”

But then, emotions are just emotions. They can do nothing to change the situation. Thus, it is best to set these feelings aside and think of the things that could help your child cope, adjust and accept the new role that she will be playing. Bear in mind that this situation is not about your child now but also on the baby that she is carrying.

Someone in the family should act as the neutral one to sort through the situation and get the solution needed.

 

Your Child’s Feelings

You may be disappointed. That’s understandable being a parent and all. But you also need to consider what your child is also feeling at the moment. At first, you need to understand that your kid is terrified with your probable reaction that is why she kept it from you for quite some time. Carrying a secret does no good especially since your daughter knows that in the end, it will be disappointing for you, her parent. And there is also this uncertainty of what will happen to her and the future once the baby is born. “In recognizing the need to help mothers cope with the challenge of being mothers, family members and friends have to recognize that love and support are usually what women in crisis need most,” Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. notes.

On the part of teenage fathers, the responsibility and the guilt can be overwhelming. With this, the parents of a teenage father should also help the child and support him with his duties.

Special Concerns

Pregnant teenage mothers, just like any other mother, need proper medical attention and care. This will help them have physically healthy babies, but a lack thereof can lead to:

  • Anemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Fetal death
  • Low birth-weight child
  • Delivery complications

Once you learn that your child is pregnant, get her the proper prenatal care at once so that her chances of having a successful pregnancy would be high.

 

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Medical Care

During the very first prenatal exam, your pregnant daughter should be examined thoroughly. Urine and blood tests are mandatory for pregnant women. Then tests for rubella, sexually transmitted diseases, mumps, and measles should also be given out.

Other than that, your daughter should be educated with the following:

  • The importance of prenatal care and being aware of her schedule
  • Physical and emotional changes
  • How to deal with the inconveniences brought about by pregnancy

Other than this, she should be educated with the importance of vitamins and other supplements for herself and the baby as well.

Lifestyle Changes

The teenage mother should also be educated in terms of lifestyle change. This is important for her health, her pregnancy, and the baby.

  • No smoking
  • No drinking
  • No drugs
  • No more than 200 mg of caffeine intake per day
  • Should eat right
  • Should have enough rest
  • No to unsafe sex

Nutrition

The teenage mother should be aware of proper nutrition as well. Eat foods that are not only good for her but also the baby as well. The diet is more on vegetables, fruits, and grains. The following should be included in the pregnant teenager’s diet throughout her pregnancy:

  • Calcium
  • Protein
  • Folic acid
  • Iron

Drinking the right amount of water (ask the OB-GYNE about this) and cutting down calorie intake are also very much recommended.

Exercise

Pregnant women and this includes the teenage mothers as well, should also engage in exercise activities. This is not only good for the body, but it also conditions the body for the big day. This will keep the body energized and healthy.

Exercise doesn’t mean extreme workouts that are usually done in the gym. Simple walking and stretching will do. Physical exercises that do not require pressure and intense workout are recommended, but before the teenage mother starts with any type of activity, consult the OB-GYNE first.

 

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Stress

Teenage pregnancy can bring in a lot of stress. Emotions are unstable, the pressure of getting things done for the baby can be overwhelming, the medical expenses are high, and the changes are abrupt which is difficult to manage emotionally and mentally. This will trigger stress and stress can be very harmful to both mother and baby. Ann Diamond Weinstein Ph.D. notes that, “There is increasing evidence that suggests that the intentional use of stress reduction skills during the preconception, prenatal and early parenting periods lessens the negative impacts of stress on mothers-to-be and their developing babies.”

These issues cannot be avoided especially in teenage pregnancies, but they must be faced and settled. However, the teenager must be guided throughout this time. She should also be taught how to manage her stress for her own sake and for her baby’s, as well.

Prenatal Classes

There are prenatal classes for soon-to-be mothers. These classes will teach them how to prepare themselves for delivery day, how to handle their baby and so much more. These classes will increase their awareness of motherhood.

New Responsibilities

Being a mother is a new responsibility. Even those who are already adults can become confused and frustrated. So how much more with those teenage mothers who are unprepared?

With this, guidance from the parents is needed. It may be frustrating, but then again, for the benefit of your child, emotions must be set aside and let your unconditional love reign.

 

The Basics On Postpartum Depression

 

Seeing your baby for the first time can bring about a mix of emotions. Happiness, joy, excitement, a bit of fear and maybe, some anxiety are valid feelings especially after undergoing the pains of labor and birth. These waves of emotions will pass for some and everything will be back to normal again. For other mothers, it’s not that easy. Their worry and stress become so strong which will turn into depression – postpartum depression.

  

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Symptoms of Postpartum Depression (PPD)

After childbirth, the new mother will experience a condition called postpartum baby blues. It will not last for a long time, though, maybe a week or two at most. If the baby blues don’t go away after two weeks, it can be a more serious health disorder which can eventually lead to PPD. “Ten to twenty percent of women experience significant depressive symptoms after the birth of a child. Of these, 5 to 10% experience severe depressive symptoms, meaning that about 1% of women develop a severe depression after childbirth,” says Eugene Rubin, Ph.D.

Here are some signs of postpartum baby blues that goes away after a few days:

  • Change in moods
  • Being anxious
  • Sadness
  • Touchiness
  • Overwhelmed
  • Tearful
  • Can’t focus
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sleep problems

If the mother will feel the above-mentioned signs for longer than two weeks and the feelings are intense or severe, then, it may be PPD. Here are other symptoms of PPD, aside from the ones already listed:

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  • Can’t feel that baby bond
  • Isolating self from family and friends
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Excessive eating or not eating at all
  • Fatigued all the time
  • No energy to get up from bed or to move
  • Angry all the time
  • Fear of not being a good mother
  • Guilty feelings
  • Thinking that you’re worthless, hopeless or helpless
  • Can’t seem to think well, plan, organize or make sound decisions
  • Panic attacks
  • Thinking about self-harming
  • Contemplating suicide and/or death

“The experience of shame can interact with depression in important ways that can maintain or worsen the severity of clinical depression. Classically, the depressed person engages in behaviors that they aren’t proud of,” says Erin Mendoza, PsyD.

Postpartum depression is not a micro disorder. It is a real condition which can be critical for the person suffering from it when left untreated. If you are a mother who just gave birth and you’ve been experiencing the at least five of the signs and symptoms mentioned above for more than 15 days, then, you need to see a mental health care professional.

What to expect from your mental health care provider

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Most of those who have been diagnosed with Postpartum Depression is recommended to do two things – seek continuous mental health treatment and to take antidepressants until cured.

For mental health treatment, psychotherapy or talk therapy are preferred. “Individual therapy can be helpful, but we found that when mothers are involved in therapy groups where they discuss their experience of depression with other mothers, that they feel validated, greater understanding and an increased sense of social support, according to women who have participated,” says Roseanne Clark, PhD. You go to a shrink and then talk about what makes you feel the way you feel. You can also opt for anonymous chat sessions if you don’t want a face to face encounter with your therapist.

As for medication, some antidepressants are harmless for those who are breastfeeding. Only a psychiatrist can prescribe these medicines for you and you must take it as directed. Consult with your mental health care provider on the side-effects of pills on you and your baby.