Pregnancy is an exciting time, but we know pregnancy also has its struggles. Often, mothers experience mental health concerns as their baby grows. In fact, a 2018 study by MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health found that up to 20% of women suffer mood and anxiety disorders during pregnancy. At Garrett Counseling we want to give you resources to help you throughout your pregnancy. Below, you will find a few tips on how to take care of your mental health during pregnancy from the moms on our team!
- Stay Physically Active: As with any time in life, staying active is important to your mental health! Regular exercise releases endorphins that help elevate your mood. Additionally, an active routine can give you the self-confidence that you are doing something healthy for both you and the baby. This article from KidsHealth shares more detailed information about exercise in pregnancy.
- Have A Self-Care Plan: Things are always easier with a plan. Know what you need to take care of yourself, and do it regularly. This will include mental needs, like mindfulness and deep breathing, but also physical needs like bathing and proper nutrition. If you have a plan already, it will make the hard times a little easier, and potentially reduce the anxiety and depression related to the pregnancy
- Find A Support Person: This support person could potentially be your partner. No matter who your support person is, it is essential to have someone who has your back. This person should be able to make those late night runs to town for you and help you get whatever you or your baby may need. Not having to worry about the little things will ease your anxiety considerably.
- Listen To Your Body: Nobody knows you like your body. It will tell you when it needs something, much like the child you are awaiting. If your body says rest, rest. If your body says eat, eat (with proper nutrition). Your body will send you the messages it needs, but you have to be willing to listen.
- Keep Hydrated: Most counselors will tell you that this is a basic biological need that always needs tending to, but it goes double during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association lists the following potential issues of dehydration in pregnancy: neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, inadequate breast milk production, and even premature labor. To maintain the baby’s health, but also your own peace of mind, it is suggested that you drink 8-12 glasses of water daily.
- Create A Plan: Garrett Counseling’s Jessica Mentzer says, “Having a baby is life changing and at times overwhelming and scary. Having a plan for doctor visits and your child’s birth, a list of wants and needs, and rules that you want family and friends to follow could help in reducing stress and anxiety throughout your pregnancy.”
- Be Kind To Yourself: “You are going to receive many thoughts, suggestions, opinions and sometimes demands on how you should be as a parent raising your child. Receiving all this information can be overwhelming and make you start doubting your capability to be a parent. Be mindful of what you believe and tell yourself,” says Garrett Counseling’s Megan Campbell, LPCS, NCC.
Stress on your mental health during pregnancy translates to stress for the growing baby. We hope that these tips help you take care of your mental health during pregnancy. Our counselors in Huntsville, AL and our other locations have experience supporting moms during their pregnancy. If we can help you, contact us today online or at (256) 239-5662.
This article was written by Ben Lighter, a mental health counselor at Garrett Counseling in Jacksonville, AL. Learn more about Ben here.