Mental health in pregnancy can be a big issue for a lot of women. Pregnancy is 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 women can struggle and they may need some additional support.
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.
To help you manage your mental health in pregnancy
- 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 – this can work well for some people to encourage relaxation and to ease stress and anxiety
- 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.
If you are struggling with anxiety and feeling low, please don’t keep it to yourself. You could benefit from talking it through so you can be open and honest about any stress, worries or fears. 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 come to see me once to focus on a particular issue, while others 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.