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3 min read

5 Steps to Protecting Your Mental Health In Pregnancy

Becoming pregnant is an amazing thing: the excitement over the arrival of your new child, the showers and gifts, the love that comes with growing a family.

But within all the good, as in most things, is the not-so-good. Pregnancy can be an extremely stressful and even scary time as well.

Questions about one's ability to raise a child, worries about how life is about to change, and the physical and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can become almost overwhelming for millions of people.

Let's go over some tips you can use to protect your mental health during this exciting - if tumultuous - time.

Pregnancy Mental Health Resources on This Page:

Step #1: Maintain Your Physical Health

Step #2: Limit Other Life Transitions

Step #3: Make Time for Family and Friends

Step #4: Try Support Groups or Pregnancy Classes

Step #5: Visit a Perinatal Therapist

Perinatal Mental Health in Brooklyn: Williamsburg Therapy Group

Step #1: Maintain Your Physical Health

There's no denying that pregnancy is a very physical process as well as an emotional one.

On average, people gain anywhere from 15 to 40 pounds of body weight when pregnant. Most pregnant women experience some sort of skin change. Back and joint issues are common, as are changes in appetite and libido.

It's also known that physical health can be correlative and even contributory to mental health. In a chapter of life where so much physical change is happening, it's not surprising that mental changes occur as well.

While most physical changes are inevitable during pregnancy, it's important to continue eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining heart health.

Most likely, your GP or gynecologist will have some recommendations for staying healthy during pregnancy. Following these guidelines can be a great way to protect your mental health as well as your physical health.

When you are physically healthy, you prevent physical contributors to mental concerns like depression and anxiety.

Just remember to be kind to yourself, too: You should expect your body to change, so don't be hard on yourself when it does.

Step #2: Limit Other Life Transitions

Having a child is already a huge life transition. If this is your first child, your life obviously won't be the same after the child is born.

Even if this "ain't your first rodeo" with having children, the addition of a new child and sibling is still a dramatic change from the way life was before.

If at all possible, try to limit other changes during this time, at least until the new baby is home and settled.

If you're planning on selling your house and moving, for example, you may want to consider holding off until some semblance of stability is established after childbirth.

Obviously, life comes at you fast sometimes. It's not always possible to prevent or delay a life transition. But if you do have a choice, your mental health will be better if there are fewer things shaking up your reality at a given time.

Step #3: Make Time for Family and Friends

Being pregnant can make mobility more difficult. Some women also find themselves fatigued or apathetic during pregnancy. Both of these can make it difficult to go out and see friends and family.

But your social and familial circle isn't just there for fun and games: They can also be your mental health support network.

Socializing and laughing with loved ones can be a massive force for good for your mental health. Sharing thoughts and feelings with friends helps us feel like we're not alone, and that even if things get hard, we won't be left to fight them by ourselves.

If you're finding it very difficult to drive or gather the energy to leave your house, invite your friends over! Host a dinner party or a game night, and let yourself relax in the company of people who have your back.

Step #4: Try Support Groups or Pregnancy Classes

Friends and family really can be the difference between a good day and a bad one. But what if no one in your social circle is or ever has been pregnant? What if none of them really understand, despite how supportive they are, what's happening to your mind and body?

This is where support groups and pregnancy classes come in.

There's a really, really good chance someone in your city offers pregnancy classes or support groups for pregnant women, where those who are in your same boat can come to discuss the finer points of pregnancy and perinatal mental health.

Have a weird physical sensation you want to talk about? What about your fear of being responsible for a new person? Whatever is on your mind, understand that you aren't alone: the people in these classes almost certainly have many of the same experiences and would be willing to give you advice or at least hear about and validate your feelings.

As a plus, pregnancy classes also give very insightful and actionable advice about pregnancy-specific issues, such as childbirth protocols or methods for making yourself more comfortable as the due date approaches.

Step #5: Visit a Perinatal Therapist

If you're finding that your mental health during pregnancy is suffering, there's no shame at all in seeking a perinatal therapist.

Specially trained and educated in perinatal mental health - that is, mental health in the weeks and months prior to and after childbirth - perinatal therapists can help you navigate these new feelings and develop a stronger foundation for mental health during pregnancy and beyond.

Post-Partum Depression (noun.) (1920 × 1080 px) (2)

Perinatal Mental Health in Brooklyn: Williamsburg Therapy Group

As Brooklyn's premier mental health collective, Williamsburg Therapy Group is proud to offer perinatal mental health services to Brooklyn mothers.

Our team of doctoral-level pregnancy therapists maintains a high level of both expertise and availability, so you can get the care you need.

Your pregnancy is unique, but that doesn't mean you're alone. Book an appointment online or simply give us a call to let our patient coordinator find the right perinatal therapist for you.

Book a Therapy Session in Brooklyn Today

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