Mental health during pregnancy

Pregnant woman at an appointment with a mental health professional

Whether you’re a first-time parent or an experienced one, pregnancy can bring on a lot of different feelings. At first, most parents are thrilled to be having a baby but, throughout the pregnancy, moms can start to have an array of emotions. Sometimes it’s a feeling of worry, but sometimes, expecting moms can experience new or worsening feelings like, anxiety or depression.

Are mental health concerns common during pregnancy?

Many of us already know that mood swings can be very common during pregnancy, but feeling anxious or sad all the time is, unfortunately, also common. Stress, body changes and hormones can all take a toll on a woman’s mental health during pregnancy.

Depression

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 10 United States women experience symptoms of depression. Some women who were diagnosed with depression before pregnancy may experience worsening symptoms after getting pregnant, or may find that their treatment is not working like it was prior to pregnancy. But it is also possible to be diagnosed with depression during pregnancy.

Anxiety

It is also possible to be diagnosed with anxiety during pregnancy, or experience new or worsening symptoms of anxiety after getting pregnant.

What other mental health issues can happen during pregnancy?

Other mental health concerns can start or get worse during pregnancy:
– Bipolar disorder.
– Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
– Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
– Eating disorders.

How can mental health be treated during pregnancy?

Prescription medications

There are prescription medications that are safe to take while pregnant. If you are already taking medications for your mental health, be sure to talk to your doctor about how the medication may affect your baby. But never stop taking your medication without talking to a health care provider first. Your provider will help you change or create a treatment plan that will help both you and your baby.

Therapy

Talking with a mental health professional can help you manage the stress of becoming a parent, and ease feelings of anxiety or depression. You can also look for a support group where you can talk with other mothers about what you are going through.

Self-care

Many women find that activities like exercise, yoga and meditation can help them manage stress. Make sure to talk with your health care provider about what exercise and activities are approved for you and your baby to take part in.

 

Mental health concerns are nothing to be ashamed of. If you feel anxious or depressed during your pregnancy, reach out to a medical or mental health professional for help. They will help you decide what course of treatment is right for you and your baby. The sooner you start treatment, the sooner you will feel better.