Pregnancy and Mental Health
Pregnancy is a very different experience for everyone. Understandably pregnancy brings with it new anxieties; worry about the baby, about the birth, how you will cope with a new-born, how your finances or family dynamics will change. You may even be unsure how you feel about the pregnancy, especially if it was unplanned. All of these things can be overwhelming. Pregnancy also brings about huge changes in hormones which adds to the fluctuating emotions and you may also be struggling with physical symptoms such as sickness, poor sleep and exhaustion.
Many people talk about blooming and glowing in pregnancy, so when you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed and depressed you may be reluctant to talk about it. But these negative feelings are not unusual at all, with as many as 10-15% women suffering mental health problems during pregnancy, with depression and anxiety being the most common. The severity of feelings and symptoms can vary from person to person and even from day to day.
If you are struggling during your pregnancy you should ask your GP or midwife for support, your mental health is always as important as your physical health. You will most likely be referred to a perinatal mental health team, who should be able to offer support during your pregnancy, they can offer therapeutic support (talking therapies) or medication and it will be up to you and the team to work out the best steps to take for you. Talking therapies can generally be offered quickly during pregnancy, but this will of course depend on your local area.
If you have suffered with mental health problems in the past but are currently well, you may be more at risk of symptoms recurring during pregnancy, or particularly after pregnancy, and should consult your healthcare provider, who should refer you to a specialist mental healthcare provider. Similarly if you are currently taking medication for a mental illness and you become pregnant, you should discuss this with you healthcare provider as some medication will not be suitable in pregnancy and you will need to carefully assess the route to take throughout pregnancy, considering both your own health and that of your baby.
If you suspect that you need any support for your mental health at any stage of your pregnancy, please know that it is better to talk to someone. At Muma Nurture we have a range of confidential services available to support you.