Protecting Your Mental Health During Pregnancy

About 80% of women have the ‘baby blues’ during pregnancy, but 15% of women may develop anxiety or depression at some stage. You may have fears and feel overwhelmed, or you may withdraw from family and friends. It is important to be proactive if you have a history of depression, as this can help prevent symptom onset. 

Meditation and exercise can help you to cope with your depression, as can getting some emotional support. Have a look at some ways to protect your mental health during pregnancy.

Light Exercise

Your GP should be able to advise you on how much exercise you can do while pregnant, as it may depend on your overall health. Physical exercise has been shown to reduce the level of prenatal depression in women. These women exercised three times per week for to 60 minutes, but it has also been shown that smaller amounts of exercise can be helpful.

A study published by Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health showed that only minutes of running or walking per day can reduce depression by 26%. Exercise can also relieve tension, reduce stress and prevent serious symptoms of anxiety.

Having A Baby Shower

Getting emotional support from your friends and family to help you cope will help you feel stronger and less isolated, and this is a valuable reason not to forego your baby shower. Playing games can also help you to prepare for the baby. For example, if you are feeling anxious about choosing a name for your baby, you could ask everyone to bring a list of their favourite unique baby names to help you with your decision.

Your friends can also help you to buy some of the essential items for your baby, which can reduce some of the pressure of preparing for the baby coming. Without being pushy, let your friends know what etiquette is expected - for example, whether they can drink, and whether or not you would like games to be played.

Regular Meditation

Meditation can help people to sleep better, focus on the present, and reduce symptoms of anxiety. Visualisation and breathing techniques can be helpful for new mothers, as this will help to reduce tension. The combination of mindfulness and meditation is also helpful for mothers-to-be who are feelings symptoms of depression.

A study published in Mindfulness suggests that mindfulness-based meditations are particularly helpful in reducing anxiety symptoms in pregnant women. Try attending a session with friends to help you stay motivated.

Anxiety and depression can be extremely isolating and frightening during pregnancy. Try to talk with someone about how you are feeling, as you may find that they understand or have been through the same thing themselves during their own pregnancy.

This article was kindly written and contributed by Cassie Steele.

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