Minding Your Mind: Taking Care Of Your Mental Being In Pregnancy
In pregnancy, so much is written about the amazing physical changes that happen as the human body adapts and grows another little human. I wrote in a previous post about falling in love with your pregnant self. Another massive change also occurs; that is our mental adaptation to the prospect of parenthood. While it is exciting, it can also bring up fears around labour birth and challenges to mental well-being are more common than we think.
We have all probably heard about postnatal depression, and postnatal anxiety but less commonly known is the fact that depression and anxiety can and does affect women and pregnant people during pregnancy itself. People who have a history of previous mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders can find that the pregnancy can trigger a relapse in their condition.
It is important that you take as good care of your mental wellness, as your physical wellness. If you find that you are feeling down or anxious, it is so important you talk to your health care provider. In the vast majority of maternity units, there are now specially trained mental health care teams who can help and support you. The most important message is that you have to say how you are feeling. Sometimes in pregnancy, we don’t want to be viewed as ‘ungrateful’ with our pregnancies and therefore feel guilty at saying if you are having a tough time. But mental health is just as important as physical health- and if problems are not addressed and supported when they occur, they tend to fester and get worse, not better.
Anxiety and fear of birth are very real concerns, but there is plenty you can do to address them and overcome difficult and negative birth associations. Hypnobirth or mindfulness-based courses can offer excellent tools to feel more positive and less fearful as well as prepare you for a positive labour and birth experience. Sometimes you might need to do several different small things, which all add up to make a huge difference.
Pregnancy should be a time where you feel well and whether it is a physical challenge or a mental one, it is important you get the help and support you need. Overcoming challenges can be enormously rewarding and having a positive birth experience at the end can be very healing. . Don’t suffer in silence, if you are worried or concerned talk to someone (Your GP, Mental health Team, Midwife or Consultant).