Female Psychology during Pregnancy.
Pregnancy is often a very happy and exciting time. But not every woman feels this way. You may have mixed, or even negative, feelings about being pregnant. You may find it more difficult than others to cope with the changes and uncertainties which pregnancy brings. Many things can affect how you feel in pregnancy. These include physical symptoms (e.g. morning sickness), the support you have (or don’t have), and stressful events in your life.
Along with understanding how to female psychology works during pregnancy, here’s why you need to have a positive spirit.
How pregnancy can affect your mental health:
Women often worry about how they will cope with pregnancy or having a baby. It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious at times. When you are pregnant, it is common to worry about:
- The changes in your role (becoming a mother, stopping work).
- The changes in your relationships.
- Whether you will be a good parent.
- Fear that there will be problems with the pregnancy or the baby.
- Physical health problems and pregnancy complications.
- Fear of childbirth.
- Lack of support and being alone.
Along with understanding how to female psychology works during pregnancy, here’s how you can overcome the fear of trying new things.
As many as 1 in 5 women have mental health problems in pregnancy or after birth. It can happen to anyone. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems in pregnancy. These affect about 10 to 15 out of every 100 pregnant women. Just like at other times in life, you can have many different types of mental illness and the severity can vary. You may already have had a mental illness when you became pregnant.
Mental health problems you have had in the past can be worrying because they can increase the risk of becoming unwell, particularly after birth. However, with the right help, this can often be prevented. You can also develop mental health problems for the first time in pregnancy or after birth. How your mental health is affected during pregnancy depends on many things. These include:
Along with understanding how to female psychology works during pregnancy, here’s how you can be courageous.
- The type of mental illness you have had already.
- Stopping medication for a mental health problem – you have a high risk of relapse if you do this when you become pregnant. This is more likely if you have had a severe illness, several episodes of illness or a recent episode.
- Recent stressful events in your life (such as a death in the family or a relationship ending).
- How you feel about your pregnancy – you may or may not be happy about being pregnant.
- Upsetting memories about difficulties in your own childhood.
Along with understanding how to female psychology works during pregnancy, here’s how you can be more focused.
Symptoms of mental illness in pregnancy are similar to symptoms you have at other times, but some may focus on the pregnancy. For instance, you may have anxious or negative thoughts about your pregnancy or your baby. You may find changes in your weight and shape difficult, particularly if you have had an eating disorder.
Sometimes symptoms caused by your pregnancy can be confused with symptoms of mental illness. For example, broken sleep and lack of energy are common in both pregnancy and depression.
Pregnancy with Pre-existing condition:
You should be referred to a mental health service if you are pregnant and have ever had:
- A serious mental illness, like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder or severe depression.
- Treatment from mental health services.
- Postpartum psychosis or severe postnatal depression.
- A severe anxiety disorder such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
- An eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia.
Along with understanding how to female psychology works during pregnancy, here’s how you can stop thinking about problems.
It is important to get specialist advice even if you are well during this pregnancy. Women who have had these illnesses have a high risk of becoming unwell after birth. Your midwife or GP can refer you to a perinatal mental health service if there is one in your area, or otherwise to a community mental health team. Mental health professionals can discuss care and treatment choices with you. They will help you make a plan for your care, with your midwife, obstetrician, health visitor and GP.
If you have had any other mental health problems, talk to your GP. Even if you don’t need to see a mental health team it helps to get advice and support, so that you can stay as well as possible. Often your GP will be able to advise about care and treatment. This will depend on the illness you have had and how severe it has been. You can also get support from some of the organisations listed at the end of this page.
Along with understanding how to female psychology works during pregnancy, here’s how you can keep yourself motivated.
Treatment for Mental Health during pregnancy:
It’s just as important to have treatment for mental health problems as it is for physical health problems in pregnancy. The best treatment for you will depend on your illness and how severe it has been. Both medication and psychological therapies (talking treatments) can help.
Any woman may need to take medication for many different physical and mental health problems before, during and after pregnancy. Decisions about whether to continue, change or stop medications in pregnancy are not straightforward or easy. Some medications have been used in pregnancy for many years.
A few medications, such as Valproate, are known to cause problems in some babies and so should not usually be used at all in pregnancy. In many cases, we simply do not have enough information to be absolutely sure that a treatment is safe. It is important to weigh up the risks and benefits of taking medication in your individual case. Your GP or psychiatrist can help you decide what is best for you and your baby.
Along with understanding how to female psychology works during pregnancy, here’s how you can control your emotions.
If possible, you should talk to your doctor before you become pregnant. However, many pregnancies are unplanned. This means it’s common to have to make decisions about medication when you are already pregnant. In that case, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. It is very important that you don’t stop your medication suddenly unless your doctor tells you to. Stopping treatment suddenly can make you relapse and can cause unpleasant side-effects.
It may be best for you to continue medication during pregnancy. But – there are many things you need to think about when making decisions about using medication in pregnancy. These include:
Along with understanding how to female psychology works during pregnancy, here’s how you can always keep smiling.
- How unwell you have been in the past
- How quickly you become unwell when you stop the medication
- Medications you have taken:
- which treatments have helped you most?
- have some medicines caused side-effects?
- Up-to-date information about the safety of specific medications in pregnancy (see the link below to the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy website.
- If you are unwell during pregnancy:
- You might not take good care of yourself.
- You might not attend appointments with your midwife – so you don’t get the care you need.
- If you use drugs and alcohol, you may use more when unwell. This can harm your unborn baby.
- You may need a higher dose of medication if you become ill. Sometimes you may need two or more medications to treat a relapse. This might be riskier for your unborn baby than if you take a standard dose of medication throughout pregnancy.
- You may need in-patient treatment.
- You may still be unwell when your baby is born. You may then find it more difficult to care for your baby. It may also affect your relationship with your baby.
- If your illness is not treated, this may be more harmful to your baby than the effect of medication. Untreated mental illness can cause a number of problems. For example, some research studies have found babies are more likely to have low birth weight if their mother has depression in pregnancy. Untreated mental illness can also affect a baby’s development later on.
- Unfortunately, 2-3 in every 100 babies are born with an abnormality, even when the mother has not taken any medication.
A talking treatment may be helpful. For some women, this can be used instead of medication. Others may need a talking treatment as well as medication. Psychological therapies services should see you more quickly if you are pregnant. Your doctor can advise you about referral in your local area.
Additional things to do:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. You should stop drinking if possible.
- Stop smoking (ask your midwife or GP about ‘stop smoking’ services).
- Find some time each week to do something which you enjoy, improves your mood or helps you to relax.
- Meditation or mindfulness – either through a class or an app.
- Let family and friends help you with housework, shopping etc.
- Exercise (ask your midwife about exercise in pregnancy and local exercise classes).
- Discuss any worries you may have with your family, your midwife or GP.
- Get regular sleep.
- Make a Wellbeing Plan – this helps you to start thinking about the support you might need in your pregnancy and after the birth.
Following the above-mentioned tips might help you deal with your mental health better in case of a pregnancy.
Along with understanding how to female psychology works during pregnancy, Here’s how you can truly enjoy life.
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