Yay! You have just ascertained your pregnancy test results, and yes, you cannot wait to share the exciting news with your partner – that you are both going to be parents. You have been preparing yourself for motherhood and have successfully empowered your mind, body, and soul for a healthy and successful pregnancy. Well, pregnancy also brings about a variety of unforeseen psychological and physical changes, which if not properly managed, may result in psycho-sociological challenges for a mother.
Most mothers will worry about financial preparedness for the newborn, how the pregnancy may affect their relationships while others may just become worried by the uncertainty of what the future holds. Issues around childbirth are also a cause for concern and worry.
Experiencing pre- and post-natal stress is normal, especially when it’s the first time. There are many coined terms for depression during this period including: the baby blues,postpartum depression, maternal depression, prenatal depression, postnatal depression, or perinatal depression and it may present itself in mild, moderate, or severe forms. However, all is not lost as with the right information and adequate support from friends and family members, pregnant woman can very easily and successfully manage the pregnancy
How does depression manifest itself?
Most mothers will experience an emotional roller coaster. It is important to seek expert advice if you experience the following symptoms
- Constant feelings of sadness
- Anxiety and worry
- Difficulty in concentrating, remembering things or decision making
- Excessive irritability and crankiness
- Sleeping or eating more than usual
- Loss of interest in looking after yourself
- Extreme lethargy
- Fragile emotions
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Numbness and lack of emotion towards the baby
- Fear of self-harm
- Doubts about your ability to take care of the baby
Managing pre- and post-natal depression
This kind of feeling is treatable. The first step is seeking professional advice and assistance. There are a range of management technics for perinatal depression depending on severity, including:
- Increased support from family and friends – this means having a strong network of family and close friends that can be relied upon in the times of need. Need may be in the form of a personal dilemma, needing assistance with something or maybe just needing some quality company. It is also social support that equips one with the strength to carry on in the time of stress and anxiety as may occur during a pregnancy.
- Focusing on health and wellness—including changes to diet and work-out routines. During a pregnancy, one should aim at consuming all recommended nutrients as opposed to just increasing your servings. This is because the fetus creates an increased demand for nutrients from the mother’s bloodstream. Exercising during pregnancy has been known to have benefits such as speeding up post-delivery recovery time, reducing the risk of childbirth complications, boosting one’s mood, among others.
- Support groups for new mothers- these are important especially for pregnant women who struggle with pregnancy complications. Support groups double up both as social support and giving one a platform to share their pregnancy experiences without judgement.Depending on the group, some do involve psychologists or therapists in some of the sessions, to help deal with stigma in the case of unplanned pregnancies.
- Mental health counselling – pregnancy brings about a lot of physical, emotional, and psychological changes, all which may affect both the mother and people around her, for example, spouses, parents, other children et al. It may help seeking a professional outlook or opinion on issues they are thinking about as the pregnancy progresses.
To conclude, getting the right kind of support all through the gestation period, as well as having a positive outlook ,then you have absolutely nothing to worry about with the expectation of the new born child.
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