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Maternal Mental Health Week

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week

April 30, 2023

To start the Maternal Mental Health Week, 1st – 7th May 2023, we are focussing on Mental Health During Pregnancy.

What is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week?

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is a week-long campaign dedicated to talking about mental health problems during pregnancy and postpartum.

The week is all about:

  • raising public and professional awareness of perinatal mental health problems
  • advocating for women and families impacted by it
  • helping people access the information, care and support they need to recover
Mental Health During Pregnancy

It’s just as important to take care of your mental health during pregnancy, as it is to take care of your physical health. The best way to handle the difficulties of pregnancy and life with a new baby is to be psychologically healthy. Throughout pregnancy, some expectant parents experience mental health disorders like despair or anxiety.

It’s a good idea to consult your doctor or midwife for guidance and assistance if anxiety is interfering with your ability to function or if you have a poor mood lasting more than 2 weeks. You can keep your mental health when pregnant by getting enough sleep, exercising, eating healthily, and decreasing stress.

How might pregnancy impact my physical and emotional health?

It can be both joyful and difficult to get ready for a baby. If you go through an emotional change now, don’t be shocked. When you’re pregnant, it’s normal to have certain concerns and anxiety about what’s to come. This is a time when a lot of people experience stress, especially when they are aware that there will be a significant shift that they are unable to fully prepare for or control.

Pregnancy itself can be stressful. Changes in your hormones and body can make you feel stressed, and things like prenatal testing can add to that. You might worry more than usual if you’ve already had a poor experience, such as a miscarriage. These factors mean that the development of a mental illness during pregnancy is not as uncommon as you might have thought.

What mental health issues could I experience while I’m pregnant?

During pregnancy (the “antenatal” phase) and right after giving birth (the “postnatal” phase), both partners can have mental health problems. Pregnancy can result in anxiety, despair, and (less commonly) bipolar disorder for certain people. Antenatal depression affects up to one in ten females and one in twenty males. Many people have both anxiety and depression at the same time, and antenatal anxiety is also common. If certain things are true, you may be more likely to feel anxious and sad during pregnancy. These include:

  • ​​A history of mental illness 
  • Feeling as like you lack support during a difficult time, such as a difficult period in your relationship 
  • Past or present abuse of any kind
  • Problems with drugs or alcohol

There’s no need to be ashamed if you have a mental health illness; anyone can have one.

At what point should I seek help?

All expectant parents should keep an eye on their emotional and psychological well-being. Watch for clues that you might need help, and be prepared to find that help if necessary. Despite the ups and downs of pregnancy, a health professional should be consulted if:

  • You’ve continually felt lousy (for example, if you feel sad or worried) 
  • When your ability to function normally is being negatively impacted for more than two weeks
  • If you are exhibiting symptoms including losing interest, feeling hopeless, or being unable to cope, you may be depressed
  • You experience panic episodes or obsessive or compulsive behaviours
  • You’re generally frightened or worried

Thankfully, there is a lot of help available for pregnant women with mental health issues. You can get help and guidance from your doctor or midwife.

MaternalMental Health Week

How can I control my mental health while pregnant?

You have a lot of options for managing your mental health and wellness while pregnant.

  • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself; be realistic about your abilities and take breaks when needed.
  • Unless absolutely necessary, try to avoid making significant changes at this time, such as moving or changing employment.
  • Continue to remain active (check with your doctor or midwife before you start an exercise program).
  • Eat consistent, nutritious meals.
  • Spend time with those who enable you to feel at ease and confident.
  • Refrain from taking drugs or alcohol to relax.
  • Connect with other expectant parents so you may offer one another support.
  • When help is offered to you, accept it; when you need help, ask for it.

Where can I go for help and support?

Stay posted this week for more help and advice on Maternal Mental Health.

 

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