Pregnancy can be a happy, exciting time but it can also be a time of stress, anxiety, worry and change which can impact mental health. I want to write about this for mental health awareness week because anxiety, depression and stress in pregnancy can be very real for many expectant parents.
It’s not all excitement for some pregnant women…
- pregnancy could be unplanned
- pregnancy can come after miscarriage and babyloss
- there could be health concerns
- there could be financial worries
- there could be struggles with change
- there could be relationship uncertainties
- there could be fears about the health of a baby
- there could be fears about childbirth
- there could be a feeling of being along and unsupported
- there could be pre-existing mental health issues
- there could be family loss or family complications
- you might not enjoy being pregnant
- you might be experiencing sickness or pain during pregnancy
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1 in 5 women will experience mental health issues in pregnancy, with depression and anxiety affecting 10-15 in every 100 pregnant women.
Anxiety and depression could range from mild to debilitating – try to find the support you need. Talk to your community midwife about how you are feeling, he can refer you to the perinatal team, who can provide an extra level of support for you during pregnancy and when your baby is here.
You might just need more support – talking to the people close to you could be helpful, so they understand how you are feeling.
Self help methods with anxiety and depression can include… eating well, drinking plenty of water, some exercise or just getting outside, knowing how to use your breathing to stay calm, rest and sleeping, feeling safe, write things down to try to make sense of how you are feeling, talking about it. These methods won’t make any anxiety or depression disappear but it will help.
You might feel that you have to struggle on alone because you are pregnant and that you should be happy – please reach out and talk because it will be harder to keep this to yourself.
Sources of support…
0800 014 7800
Janine Smith | Birth, Baby & Family
A specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting