Your mental health and emotional wellbeing in pregnancy: What you need to know
Looking after your mental health and emotional wellbeing in pregnancy is important, here’s what you need to know
Looking after your mental health and emotional wellbeing during pregnancy is just as important as your physical health. There are a number of factors that can cause worry to mums-to-be so it’s important to look after yourself.
We take a look at some of the common causes of stress in pregnancy and what you should do.
General worries that can cause stress in pregnancy
There are a number of questions, concerns mums-to-be can worry about during their pregnancy such as:
- I’m scared about giving birth
- Will my baby be healthy?
- Will I be a good mum
- Could previous pregnancy problems happen again?
- Have I eaten/drank anything that could harm my baby?
- Will my partner and I still have a relationship of our own?
- Will I be able to work/study once my baby is born?
How your changing body can affect your mental wellbeing
Your body goes through so many changes during pregnancy, it’s common for some of them to get you down but it's important not to feel guilty if you do have some of these feelings. Here are some of the more common concerns that pregnant women worry about.
- I feel sick all the time
- I’m so tired I can’t get anything done
- I feel I’ve lost control of my body
- I feel bloated and fat
- Will my body ever be the same again?
Although it’s normal to worry and stress about these things, it can be a sign of something more serious when these feelings won’t go away.
What to do if your pregnancy worries are getting you down
Try to keep the worries in perspective
Try not to let your worries consume you. Try to remind yourself regularly that all pregnant women worry about similar things but there are people around to help ease those worries and don’t forget you will have a new baby soon that will make all the worries worth it.
Get the facts
It’s easy to fear the unknown so make sure you read up on the facts about what it is that’s worrying you. It will allow you to prepare for what will actually happen and may even ease fears as not as scary as you were imagining.
Exercise can be encouraged; this is good for you and your baby’s health and can help to release endorphins which can help you feel good and improve your sleep. You could also try meditation, breathing techniques, hypnotherapy or hypnobirthing.
Break the issues down
Deal with issues one by one, try not to let all issues build up in your mind. Take the one that worries you the most and try and tackle that first.
Talk to someone
If you do feel your pregnancy worries are starting to get you down and making you feel anxious, do make sure you talk to someone. If you don’t feel your partner will understand, talk to your mum or family member who has had children or friends you trust.
If none of these feel like an option, your midwife or GP will be able to offer you support to help manage your feelings. Don’t be afraid to discuss your particular worries. They are just as concerned about your emotional wellbeing as they are your physical health and won’t judge you for having these feelings.
If you’ve had a mental health problem in the past, pregnancy can trigger it to return – either during your pregnancy or up to a year after giving birth. If you’re taking medication for a mental health problem do not stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor or midwife as this can make your illness get worse or return.
If you have had a mental health problem, your midwife or doctor should support you with a care plan and may refer you to your local perinatal mental health team.