Tips for Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Pregnancy
May 12, 2021There is an abundance of advice for maintaining physical health during pregnancy, but mental health is just as important. It is no surprise that there are unique psychological changes and challenges that can occur during pregnancy. One minute you may feel wonderfully happy, the next sad and teary-eyed, and the next, tired and irritable. The gamut of emotions can be attributed to a surge in estrogen and progesterone, which is vital for your baby’s development but may leave you feeling less than your best. Here are some self-care tips to help you navigate fluctuating moods.
Engage in Positive Self-Talk
The journey to motherhood isn’t easy. An expanding belly, swollen feet, and weight gain are just a few of the physical changes your body will likely endure during pregnancy. On top of these changes, you may be concerned about being a good mother, delivering a healthy baby, and being prepared for parenthood in general. Lift your mood by ditching the negative speak and affirm your confidence, your beauty, and your abilities each and every day for a more positive and peaceful pregnancy.
Connect with Others Who Can Relate
There is probably no time in life when a solid support network is more crucial than during pregnancy. Seek out local or virtual support groups for an opportunity to share what you are going through and to learn from others who may be experiencing, or have gone through, the same things you are. Surrounding yourself with people who listen and provide non-judgmental feedback can help keep your anxieties and fears at bay.
Reduce Information Overload
As a soon-to-be mother, and especially if you’re having your first child, you may feel like you need to gather as much insight as possible to prepare yourself for what’s to come, from prenatal to postnatal. But as easy as it is to click and search online, information overload can make you feel overwhelmed and uneasy. To reduce the anxiety, limit the amount of time you spend searching for answers and in front of a tablet or phone.
Release Those Endorphins
You can manage stress by engaging in physical as well as mental activities during pregnancy. Yoga, walking, and jogging are good physical outlets for stress; mental activities that can reduce the effects of stress on the body include meditation and deep breathing.1 Remember to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine during pregnancy.
Seek Professional Help
Ups and downs are a natural part of the pregnancy experience, but it’s important to recognize that chronic depression or anxiety can develop, especially if you have a personal or family history of depression. It may be time to seek professional guidance if you experience any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks:
- Sadness or anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Thoughts of suicide
- Loss of interest in activities that you enjoy
- Feelings of guilt, shame, or worthlessness
The new emotions and feelings of stress or anxiety you experience during pregnancy may be normal but acknowledge them when they arise. If you feel unable to manage them, it’s OK to ask for help.
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