Tips For Maintaining Your Mental Health During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a difficult, intense, beautiful, joyful, stressful period of time. With all of those emotions swirling around, not to mention the compounding effect of the dramatic hormonal shifts and lifestyle changes, one thing that can be affected deeply is your mental health. Among all of the other advice for pregnant women, maintaining your mental health is one that is sadly often forgotten, when it’s actually one of the most important facets. So, to help you with this difficult task, let’s take a look at some ways you can take care of your mental health during pregnancy.

In this instance, therapy doesn’t have to mean sitting in a therapist’s office talking about your mental state. In a lot of situations, therapy just means being able to discuss how you feel, with anyone you like. “For mothers-to-be the isolating effect of pregnancy, being in this strange situation that others around you aren’t in, can be very difficult. Finding people to talk to, from trained professionals to other expectant mothers, can help alleviate a lot of the potential stress and anxiety which can occur”, explains Dana Cliffe, health writer at Academized and Paper Fellows. Get creative with this and find people you really feel comfortable expressing your own personal trials and tribulations to.

Eat Well
A less obvious tip when it comes to mental health, food is actually a very important topic. Food, and your state of hunger, affect your mental health even when you’re not pregnant. The added effect of having a baby dependent on you for nutrients can really throw things off if you aren’t carefully monitoring what you’re putting in your body. This one is a personal thing, so feel it out and make sure you help your mind by helping your body.

In a similar vein to the point above, exercise has a huge impact on mental health. The problem is that, when you’re pregnant, you quite often probably don’t feel all that much in the mood for exercise. Your active wear doesn’t fit, you feel heavy, and you’d rather just sit on the couch and eat whatever food you are particularly craving. Fortunately, the benefits of exercise are felt whether you’re running a marathon (not for when you’re pregnant!) or going for a stroll on a Sunday afternoon. Increased blood flow to the brain, increased oxygen richness, healthier sleep patterns and, if you can exercise outdoors, a better connectivity with the world around you all help you mentally.

Educate Yourself
Part of the anxiety that comes when you are pregnant is linked to that fear of the unknown. You’re doing something that you have never done before with a dramatic outcome that is as spiritually monumental as it is medically complex. “Getting to know the ins and outs of the pregnancy process, physically, mentally, spiritually, whatever- is a really good way to settle your mind. If you can, avoid Googling. Try and find an antenatal birth class or other sort of pregnancy support program”, recommends Tiffany Jang, psychology blogger at Australian Help and State of Writing. Being in the know about everything to expect and your path through pregnancy is a really good way to reduce the stress that you might otherwise be feeling.

Sleep The Right Amount
This isn’t a simple as getting enough sleep, though of course that is vital as well. Sleep and mental health are inextricably linked. Getting enough sleep helps your mind in an almost immeasurable way. Sleeping can be difficult in pregnancy – it can be hard to get comfortable, to fall asleep with so many toilet visits and so on.  Oversleeping on the other hand can sometimes be problematic, and if you feel that you need to be in bed all the time or find it hard to get up, check with your obstetrician or midwife as this could be a sign of low iron, or sometimes an early sign of depression.

Overall, you will find that your state of mind is going to be affected pretty significantly by pregnancy. Having moments where things are tough and moments where things feel great is normal, but you want to make sure that you stay on top of your mental health so that these changes don’t have lasting effects.

Ellie Coverdale writes for UK Writings and Essay Roo on matters of health and well-being. She loves sharing her insights on authentic, meaningful relationships and how to approach your personal and professional life. She also writes articles for Boom Essays on her experiences with yoga and meditation.