Pregnancy can be a huge time of change and while it can be full of happiness, excitement and hope, it can also be a time of anxiety, stress, worries and low mood. Some of these issues can be very manageable but some pregnant women can struggle and they may need some additional support throughout pregnancy.
Mental health in pregnancy can be affected by a number of issues which include: pre-existing mental health issues, lack of support, fear, stressful situations, pregnancy after loss, worries about pregnancy complications, health problems and having no-one to talk with about some of these issues.
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, depression and anxiety are the most common mental health issues during pregnancy, affecting 10-15 in every 100 pregnant women.
There are some things you can do which might ease anxiety/depression, or help you manage it better…
Try to eat regularly and as healthily as possible
Rest and sleep
Talk to people – partner, friends, practitioner or therapist
Exercise: it doesn’t have to be anything strenuous – a walk can help to boost your mood
Learn to use/focus on your breathing and mindfulness can work for some people
Ask for help
Discuss it with your midwife or GP as you may be able to access more support with talking therapies and the Community Perinatal Mental Health Team
If you have a pre-existing mental health condition, talk to your GP/medical team so you can plan your care during your pregnancy and when your baby is here.
If you are struggling with anxiety and feeling low, please don’t keep it to yourself. You could benefit from talking to a practitioner like me, in addition to family and friends, so you can be open and honest about any stress, worries or fears, or you may feel that you would benefit from therapy, which can be private or through NHS referral.
As a practitioner, I regularly see women who are experiencing an emotional pregnancy with more anxiety and rollercoaster moods. Some women just come to see me once to focus on a particular issue, while other women see me a few times during their pregnancy. The issues we talk through are varied: work worries/stress; relationship/family worries; anxiety & fear due to previous miscarriage or babyloss; fears about becoming a parent; general stress; concerns about having a baby and a toddler. These are your sessions so they are about focusing on your challenges, talking them through and developing coping strategies.
Just get in touch to see if I can be of help.
Janine Smith, pregnancy, birth & early parenting practitioner