Looking after your emotional health during pregnancy

Pregnancy can be one of the most wonderful times in a person’s life. It can also be one of the most challenging, with hormones swirling and changes physically and emotionally. Psychologist Dr. Sasha Lynn offers some advice on how to look after your emotional health during pregnancy.

When you first confirm you’re pregnant, it can be both exciting and surreal. You start to imagine your family expanding, and all the wonderful memories that will be built. But sometimes, the reality of such rapid changes in the body can lead to other issues you’d rather forget.

Whilst there are certainly many physical changes during pregnancy, there are also a lot of emotional changes going on too. Little things can seem like big things, and big things can be completely overwhelming. Emotional health is all about feeling balanced, feeling well in yourself, and being able to handle whatever comes your way. During pregnancy with all the changes going on, your emotions can take a hit too. But there are a few things you can do to help look after emotional health during pregnancy:

Prepare for the ups and downs

Pregnancy can feature the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. Things you never used to worry about suddenly become a big stress, you’re not sure if you really know yourself anymore and your partner turns into the most annoying person on the planet, for no real reason. You’ll be excited, exhausted, elated, embarrassed and everything else in between. Going into pregnancy understanding the ups and downs, and trying to prepare in any way, can be really helpful. Preparing those you love for the ups and downs enables them to cope too!

Build a support network

Pregnancy can be tricky; all these changes are happening to you and you alone. But there are so many others around you who are also going on the journey too. It can be isolating and collective all at the same time. Having a solid support network made up of friends, family, and health professionals, can help strengthen your own emotional health and help smooth out any bumps that arise during pregnancy.

Pregnant woman holding belly

One day at a time

Those nine months of growing a baby can seem to go so fast, and yet so slowly. Especially those last couple of weeks, they seem to go on for an eternity! It can be easy for emotions to get out of hand while playing the waiting game. We can get worked up by thinking too far ahead in the future, or looking back to the past. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, just take some slow, calm breaths and focus on the here and now. What are three things you can see? Three things you can hear? Three things you can smell? Remaining in the present moment, and taking things one day at a time can help keep your emotional health steady.

Balance

When it comes to emotional health, it’s not about ‘just being positive’ because let’s face it, stuff happens. And pregnancy can be a vulnerable time in your life, where there may be complications or issues that arise. But the key to emotional health is balance. Taking the good and the not-so-good and helping keep things at an even keel. When I was pregnant with my third child, I was in a very stressful environment, and it left me with panic and belly cramps. Definitely not keeping things in balance! 

There are many ways to try and keep things balanced. Ensuring you’ve got a good balance of gentle exercise, a healthy well-balanced diet, and a decent amount of sleep, or at least attempting to get a decent amount of sleep, are great places to start. Also balancing out your thoughts, countering those stressful or upsetting ones with some more helpful thoughts on a situation, is really valuable.

There are some great tools out there to help keep track of how you’re going, like Bupa’s mummatters. It’s free, developed by experts based on research, and can be a great way for all women to track how they are feeling during pregnancy and after birth too. 

And if more help is ever needed, mummatters can help you find sources of help and support. 

If you think you may be experiencing anxiety or depression during pregnancy, reach out to a trusted family member, friend or your health professional, who can help get you back on track.

Bupa mummatters

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