A Guide to Emotional Health During Pregnancy

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Your Physical Health is Important

Women who are pregnant may focus on staying as physically healthy as possible, to help their baby grow and develop. While your physical health is important, it is crucial to take care of yourself emotionally, as well. Your body is going through a tremendous amount of changes, and those changes aren’t only physical. Hormones play a large role in causing women to feel emotional during pregnancy. You should understand what emotions you may experience during pregnancy and how to work through them.


Is it normal to have mixed emotions over a pregnancy?

Whether you are expecting your first child or already have other children, the prospect of bringing a child into the world can cause mixed emotions. While some women are incredibly excited, others may not immediately feel thrilled. Some women may be nervous or anxious; unsure of what to expect during pregnancy and childbirth. Others may have difficulty figuring out how they will manage their career, other children and lifestyle once the baby arrives. Don’t be alarmed if you are having uneasy or anxious feelings during pregnancy. Changes in hormones can cause mood swings or periods of sadness. As your body changes physically, you may experience low self-esteem or feel unattractive. You should understand that these feelings are completely normal, and many women do experience the same type of emotions.

Can depression occur during pregnancy?

While most women have heard of postpartum depression, they may be surprised to hear that depression can occur during pregnancy. The American Association of Pregnancy estimates that one out of four women will experience depression; and 10 to 20 percent of those women will experience some form of depression during pregnancy. If you are experiencing prolonged periods of sadness or irritability, you may have prenatal depression. Some of the symptoms to look for include:

  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Frequent crying
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Losing enjoyment in life and things you were once interested in
  • Low self-esteem
How can you improve your emotional health during pregnancy?

Most women experience many ups and downs during pregnancy. During the first trimester, you may feel emotionally and physicality exhausted due to fatigue and nausea. As your pregnancy progresses, you may have periods when you feel excited and happy and other times when the physical discomforts of pregnancy leave you stressed or overwhelmed. It is important to keep an open line of communication with your partner. You should also have a support system, which can include family, friends or a pregnancy support group. Spend time discussing your feelings with the people in your support system. Take time to do the things you enjoy and consider keeping a journal of your feelings during this time. It is also important to eat well, exercise and rest as much as possible. If your emotions are becoming overwhelming, you should talk with your doctor. Sometimes antidepressants and therapy are used during pregnancy to treat depression. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help, your baby needs you to stay healthy, both emotionally and physically.

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