When we are pregnant, we focus on our and our baby’s physical health. However, even if we don’t think so much about it, our mental health is equally important. If you are curious to know more about mental health and pregnancy, you are in the right place!
The decision to bring a whole new human being to this world is probably one of the most important ones you will ever make. Yes, we know that the world in which we are living sees pregnancy and motherhood as the most natural thing for women.
And everyone you talk with will tell you that these are the most magical periods of your lives. Hence, most people expect that you are nothing but joyful and excited during pregnancy.
However, as we mentioned it is a big decision that brings a plethora of changes for you on a physical and mental level. And when it comes to physical changes you will hear plenty of women talk about them.
For example, if you have friends who have been pregnant before you, they will talk about swollen ankles and wrists, back pain, morning sickness, etc. But; the situation is a bit different when it comes to mental health problems during pregnancy and after giving birth.
You know, there is this patriarchal pressure to be happy when you are pregnant. Being a mother is a good thing, so you have no reason to not be thrilled about it, everyone says. So, if you start to express anything else but excessive joy, everyone will criticize you for being selfish, spoiled, etc. Hence there is a taboo around mental health and pregnancy!
Nonetheless, there is an undeniable link between mental health and pregnancy, and it is necessary to talk about it! Despite everyone’s expectations, most women experience various emotions during and after pregnancy, including sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, anxiety, etc.
Now in plenty of cases these feelings go away on their own after some time. But in other situations, they last longer. If that happens, we are not talking about standard baby blues anymore; but rather about a condition called peripartum depression.
We know that most of us are reluctant to talk about it and that it seems intimidating. Depression in general sounds scary, doesn’t it? And experiencing it when your beloved child arrived, it even seems even scarier.
The most frightening thing is probably that you don’t understand why suddenly you feel that way when you are supposed to be happy, right? Indeed, peripartum, previously known as postpartum depression, is a serious condition and can be frightening. The good news is that it is treatable as experts from Top Mom point out.
But it is also essential to know that not every mental health issue is considered as depression during or after pregnancy. In this text, we are going to cover some of the basics of mental health and pregnancy and discuss some types of support.
Mental Health in Pregnancy
As you know, and as we mentioned, pregnancy brings plenty of changes. Your body changes, hormones go crazy, etc. When talking about this, many have in mind all those physical changes that we mentioned. But don’t forget that the brain and the body function together.
That means that all those physical changes will certainly affect your mood. Can you imagine being super happy if you are vomiting every morning? It’s not a super cheerful experience, now, is it?
Apart from that, it is pretty expected to be anxious. For example, you may worry about the baby’s health, or whether you will be able to meet her needs, etc. You can even wonder whether you made the right decision, considering the world that surrounds us.
These are legit concerns, and they show clearly how pregnancy affects mental health. But how does mental health affect pregnancy? There are a lot of things that can happen if a mom doesn’t get treatment for mental health issues before and during pregnancy.
That is why, it is necessary to react if those feelings of anxiety, etc., last for some time and affect your daily life.
What is Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression refers to mental health after pregnancy. However, this is not the best term to describe the condition because plenty of women start to feel bad while they are still pregnant. That is why many doctors use the term peripartum which includes the period before and after childbirth.
Symptoms of peripartum, depression are frequent crying, feeling of anger, withdrawal from loved ones, constant anxiety, etc.
Now you may wonder, does depression affect pregnancy?! If left untreated it does. Studies show that women who experience depression eat too much or don’t want to eat at all; don’t get sufficient prenatal care and enough rest.
If a woman experiences depression there is an increased risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, or having a too-small baby. Some are wondering if mental health prevents pregnancy.
Depends on what you mean by this question. Mental health issues on their own can’t prevent pregnancy. However, if you don’t get adequate treatment, these issues may create conditions for abortion or miscarriage.
It is of extreme importance to know that peripartum depression is not uncommon. Because there is such a veil around it, women don’t talk thinking they are the only ones feeling this way. Far from it!
About 10 -15 percent of mothers will experience it each year; which roughly equates to 1 in 8 women.
Where to Find Help
There are plenty of groups where moms are talking about various issues, including mental health. In many cases, it is helpful to understand that you are not the only one, hear other experiences and share yours.
If you are not the type who enjoys group meetings you should try talking with a friend who had a similar experience. Also, some women prefer talking to a counselor or other kind of mental health provider.
That is all about mental health and pregnancy for today! It is essential to know that there isn’t anything uncommon about experiencing mental health issues during and after pregnancy, despite what the world thinks. The good thing is that we can take control over them and enjoy a happy and fulfilling life.
If you are having any of the symptoms mentioned above, don’t hesitate to ask for help without a delay? Have you heard about postpartum depression before? Do you know someone who experienced it?
Author’s Bio: Rae Hudson is a mother to two kids, she loves spending time with her littles. Rae is a freelance copywriter and writes articles on topics related to pregnancy, motherhood, kids’ growth, and development. She enjoys supporting new moms through her writing.