Written by Amanda Schwait Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist
There are few phrases in life that change your world quite like the words, “You’re pregnant.” No matter the circumstances surrounding your pregnancy, you can be sure that there are definitely going to be changes in your body, mind, lifestyle and/or family structure. Before getting to the part where you’ll raise a child, you’ll have to make it through the pregnancy.
Life is full of challenges. Sometimes, we easily rise to the occasion, but there are also times where we need help understanding what’s going on and how to cope. With the help of our licensed psychologists in Tampa, getting through it can be easier!
A Unique ExperienceThere are few phrases in life that change your world quite like the words, “You’re pregnant.” Click To Tweet
Pregnancy is different for every woman. Some talk about it as the worst nine months of their life, complete with morning sickness, heartburn and insomnia, and some women feel as if they’re running marathons while wearing high heels!
Despite these individual differences, there is still a societal belief that pregnancy is supposed to be one of the happiest times in a woman’s life. According to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), however, between 14% and 23% of women will struggle with some symptoms of depression during their pregnancy. On top of that, approximately 1 in 10 will deal with symptoms of anxiety during her pregnancy.
In combination with hormonal changes, anxiety and depression are often brought on by stressful life circumstances like dealing with relationships or being financially strained. It can also be exacerbated by infertility treatments or medical conditions that happened prior to or during the pregnancy.
Babies born to mothers suffering from depression may be less active, attentive and more agitated. High levels of anxiety during pregnancy are associated with a risk of developing conditions like preeclampsia, premature birth and low birth weight. This is why taking care of yourself and getting the right help is important for both you and your baby. That way, you can be ready to take care of your child when he/she comes.
The great news is that there are steps you can take to help yourself avoid depression and anxiety during pregnancy. Honor yourself and the experience. You can start by following some tips for a healthy pregnancy.
Take Care of Your BodyBabies born to moms suffering from depression may be less active, attentive and more agitated. Click To Tweet
Even if you’ve never been into health or fitness, this is the time to understand that your body needs all of the supportive measures you can possibly give it. Even a woman with an “easy” pregnancy is putting her body through stress and change. Exercise, eat right, try to sleep as much as possible and take supplements/vitamins as recommended by your healthcare professional. Join a prenatal yoga class, go for a swim and nourish your body with nutrition-rich foods. All of these will help you get the energy you need to create a new life.
Take Care of Your Mind
Pregnancy is a period of change and a time when your hormones are going to be so intense that you may find yourself crying while you’re brushing your teeth. For very independent women, leaning on someone else or taking a mental break can be a foreign concept, but in order to stay strong and calm for your baby, you may need to accept some help from others. So reach out to your partner, friends, family or therapist to receive some emotional love and support. Read for pleasure or meditate for five minutes a day. Your baby will thank you for providing a peaceful home.
Respect Your DifferencesPregnancy is different for every woman. Click To Tweet
It’s easy to obsess over reading online articles and posts to know what to expect in your pregnancy. Topics like how much weight to gain, which type of exercise to do and common symptoms are plentiful, and it seems like everyone has an opinion. Remember that this is your body and it’s doing an amazing feat. Get to know your own unique patterns and accept that your experience will be unique. Your doctor will let you know if there are any concerns or problems.
Be Gentle with Yourself
Sometimes you’ll feel as if advice is the last thing you’ll want. You’ll find yourself eating a pint of ice cream instead of a healthier dinner, not wanting to get off of the couch for a week or completely stressing about something that doesn’t seem important. That’s okay! Your baby is resilient, and as long as you try to get yourself into good habits when you notice yourself picking up some bad ones, your baby is likely going to be just fine. Treat yourself kindly. Speak to yourself in a gentle tone and appreciate all that you’re going through.
Helping You However We Can
Some of these points may seem like common knowledge, but between working, raising a family and dealing with hormones, it’s easy to forget the simplest of advices. Remember that you’re not alone. Even if you’re dealing with issues that you don’t feel comfortable discussing with your loved ones, you can always reach out to our psychologists in Tampa to help you work through your concerns!