Figure 1 Ensure that your mental wellbeing becomes a focus during and after your pregnancy.
One of the most important aspects that we focus on when pregnant is our physical health, after all, if we are not healthy, how are we to expect our baby to be healthy? And while our physical wellbeing is important, what about our mental wellbeing? Doesn’t our mental health account for anything during our pregnancy?
The mental wellbeing of a woman during pregnancy can be a very challenging topic to address and I think that is wrong. Why should a woman’s mental wellbeing be any less important than her physical health? Both can affect the health of the baby during and after pregnancy, therefore, both should be of equal importance. Unfortunately, to many employers, it isn’t.
What Feelings Can Occur?
During pregnancy, a woman can experience a wide range of emotions, some of which can affect her mental health. From happiness and excitement one minute, to sadness and worry the next. This can lead to bouts of depression or anxiety. While mood swings are normal during pregnancy, if they become overly problematic, you should consult your physician. The stress of being pregnant and the physical changes that occur in your body during pregnancy can eventually have an affect on your mental wellbeing. You might begin to feel depression or anxiety. But did you also know that pregnant women may have other mental health issues? These can include:
• Bipolar Disorder
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• Panic Attacks
• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
• Eating Disorders (Like Bulimia Or Anorexia Nervosa)
What Can You Do?
To feel better, both mentally and physically, during pregnancy, you be sure to take care of yourself as much as you can. This includes eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and remembering to take your prenatal vitamins. Also, if you do begin to feel worried or depressed, you should make it a point to talk to someone about it. Either your doctor, a counselor, your spouse or a friend.
How Are Mental Health Problems During Pregnancy Treated?
There is a wide range of treatments available for mental health problems during pregnancy and women should consult with their doctor and the human resources person at work. Although mental health care, especially during pregnancy, is important, many employers lack the resources necessary to provide the best range of mental health care possible and some women aren’t even able to get the time off they need to heal.
Treatment for mental health problems may include prescription medicines, talk therapy, or other approaches such as yoga, exercise or meditation. Remember, a mental health problem doesn’t have to be a problem for either you or your baby. You should get the help you need to ensure that your mental wellbeing becomes a focus during and after your pregnancy. I can’t wait for the day pregnancy and post-natal support is provided by the NHS.
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