It’s normal for you to feel emotional highs and lows during your pregnancy, and after giving birth to your baby. After all, having a child is a huge moment in your life, and it’s perfectly natural to feel happy and then sad, excited and then nervous, joyful and then bewildered.
However, it’s important that you recognise these emotions and take care of your mental health during pregnancy – not just for yourself but for your baby too.
Why am I feeling anxious?
There are many reasons leading to you feeling anxious. You might be feeling worried about whether you’ll be a good parent, nervous about giving birth or even anxious about your finances. Don’t worry, you’re not alone – these feelings are all perfectly common.
According to the NHS, mental health problems affect at least one in 10 women during pregnancy or early parenthood. If your mood is affecting your everyday life then you may be experiencing a perinatal mental health issue. If this sounds familiar then you should speak to your midwife or doctor about how you are feeling.
What are common emotional or mental health difficulties in pregnancy?
It’s important to remember that everybody’s experience is personal to them, but issues could include anxiety, depression, stress, low confidence and isolation. Common worries might include whether you’ll be a good parent, how your relationships will change or about a lack of support, for example.
What can I do to help my mental health?
It’s just as important to look after your mental health as your physical health during pregnancy.
Here are some tips to help you take care of your mental health if you’re pregnant:
Talk about how you are feeling
You might’ve heard of the saying that a problem shared is a problem halved, and it really does ring true. Sharing your feelings with a family member, a friend, your doctor or your midwife can be a good way to release pent-up emotions.
Talking to someone you trust can feel like a weight off your mind and remind you that you’re not alone. You may also get some tips and ideas on how to deal with the issues you’re facing.
If you are pregnant, then consider joining an antenatal class. The Parents Class antenatal sessions provide expectant parents with a safe space to engage and connect with like-minded others, who are in a similar situation. During your antenatal classes, you’ll have the chance to discuss how you’re feeling with other parents-to-be, as well as our professional midwives, who lead each session.
Unless you’ve been advised not to by your doctor, then remember, it’s safe to exercise in pregnancy. Getting regular exercise such as walking or swimming can help to improve your mood and reduce anxiety and depression.
If you’re finding it a challenge to exercise during pregnancy then read our blog on keeping fit and having fun when expecting a baby.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet is also linked to good mental health. Making sure you eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet is going to be good for you and for your baby.
Keep a journal
The mental health benefits of keeping a journal are well documented. Writing down your thoughts, feelings and reflections can help you to navigate your way through pregnancy and externalise your feelings.
Breathing exercises and practice mindfulness
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might want to try breathing and mindfulness techniques to help you deal with stress, anxiety and panic. Read our blog on practicing mindfulness while pregnant.
Speak to a professional
It’s okay to not be okay and to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed then speak to your GP or midwife and they might advise referring you to a therapist.
Are you pregnant? Join The Parents Class and connect with other expectant parents
We’ve listed a number of ways that you can take care of your mental health when you’re pregnant, one is talking to others, so why not join Our Community which is FREE, enabling you to connect with other parents-to-be, and become part of Our Community today.
Of course, if you are pregnant then this is your sign to book your space on The Parents Class. Our midwife-led antenatal classes are designed for expectant parents as early as 18 weeks pregnant through to your third trimester. Find your nearest class today.