Plenty of people associate pregnancy with feelings of joy and excitement. But, for some expectant moms, it can be a time of anxiety and depression, too. While these feelings aren’t necessarily uncommon, they can definitely take a toll on your quality of life — and on your health and the health of your baby.
In fact, struggling with anxiety, depression, chronic stress, and other mental health issues during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight, small head size, and premature birth. Furthermore, it can increase the risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health problems in moms-to-be.
At his practice in Newburgh, Indiana, which serves the Evansville area, Paul W. Morrison, M.D., offers holistic, whole-patient pregnancy care, including care for women dealing with emotional health issues. Here are some simple steps you can take to support your mental health during pregnancy and beyond.
Get plenty of rest
Quality sleep is important for your physical health and mental wellness. In fact, the added baby weight combined with the hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can make you feel especially worn out.
Unfortunately, pregnancy can interfere with sleep, especially as your belly gets bigger. Try these pregnancy sleep tips, and try to work in a brief nap during the day when you can.
Make good nutrition a priority
When you’re pregnant, you need to get good nutrition to support the health of you and your baby. Vitamin deficiencies are surprisingly common. And, when you add in the additional demands of pregnancy, it’s easy to see how you could wind up with low levels of important vitamins.
Many nutritional deficiencies can contribute to emotional issues, including feelings of depression and anxiety. Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy is extremely important, and it’s important to take your prenatal vitamins every day, too.
Work physical activity into your daily routine
Physical activity can help promote a healthy pregnancy and also help you maintain a healthy weight. Plus, research shows that regular exercise can help ward off feelings of depression and anxiety and also help you get restful sleep. Try walking during your lunch break or after dinner. Swimming and prenatal exercise classes are good choices, too.
Join a support group
Joining a prenatal support group can connect you with other expectant moms who share your experiences and feelings. There are also lots of online support groups that can help you feel connected without even leaving your home.
Set aside daily “me” time
Managing stress is never easy, and if pregnancy is interfering with your sleep, it can be even harder to keep anxiety at bay. Setting aside some time every day to do something you really enjoy can be a great way to relax and recharge. Taking a bath, listening to music, reading, or enjoying a favorite hobby can all be great ways to melt away stress.
Consider prenatal yoga
Prenatal yoga can help you work some exercise into your routine, relieve stress, and even prepare your body for labor. The stretches and movements in prenatal yoga can prime and strengthen the muscles used during delivery, so you can be ready for the big day.
Book a prenatal massage
Prenatal massage is another great way to relieve stress and help you get a good night’s sleep. Massage is ideal for anyone who’s dealing with back pain, sciatica, or other aches and discomforts of pregnancy. Plus, it’s a good way to have an hour all to yourself.
Seek help for your symptoms
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed during pregnancy (or any time), seeking medical help is one of the best ways to feel better and prevent potential problems for you and your baby. Dr. Morrison can refer you to a specialist who can provide you with the care and therapy you need to support your emotional health.
If you’re struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression, or other overwhelming emotions, there are treatments that can help. To learn more, call 812-490-5200 or book an appointment online with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D., today.