Wednesday 17 December 2014

Pregnancy and mental health

When I first fell pregnant with my son in 2009 I was scared. Yes pregnancy is scary for every woman but I had the added fear of my anxiety rearing its ugly head again!  When I first met with my midwife I told her that I had suffered with anxiety in 2006 and she was so lovely at explaining that if it was to come back again I would get help from her. This put my mind at rest.

Here are some tips for dealing with mental health conditions when pregnant.

  • Tell the midwife - they are there to help and support you no matter what.
  • Speak to your doctor - if you are on medication they will tell you the best way forward
  • Be honest. - You will be asked regularly about how you feel. Always be honest.
  • Don't be scared - no-one will judge you
  • Try stick to appointments - you may be having a bad day but the appointments are important and seeing the midwife will give you someone to speak to when feeling down.
  • Ask for help - if you feel you need counselling ask, they will refer you.

When you have had your baby you will be emotional, it is normal. I cried both times, the baby blues, blame the hormones. If you have the following symptoms you may have depression

  • feeling very sad and hopeless
  • not sleeping well
  • a lack of interest or pleasure in doing things 
  • loss of appetite

If you have the above symptoms it is worth mentioning to your doctor, midwife or health visitor.

Another fear I had when pregnant was having postnatal depression.  I done my homework and knew the signs and symptoms.  If you have the following feelings and symptoms please tell your health visitor and/or doctor.
  • feeling irritable and angry
  • crying or often being on the verge of crying
  • feeling unable to cope
  • worrying unnecessarily about things that wouldn't normally bother you
  • being afraid of being left alone with your baby
  • uncontrollable feelings of panic
  • overwhelming fears, for example fear of dying
  • dreams about harming your baby
  • sleeping problems
  • feeling exhausted and lethargic
  • lack of interest in your surroundings and appearance, or becoming obsessively tidy
  • trouble concentrating and feeling distracted
  • gaining or losing large amounts of weight
  • loss of pleasure in activities you usually enjoy, including loss of libido (sex drive) 
  • feelings of guilt that you're a bad mother

I advise you to see a health care professional as soon as possible if you have the above symptoms so you can get all the help and support you need. DO NOT feel ashamed or scared you are not alone!!

Having a baby is the most exciting, scary, emotional and amazing experience. Enjoy it.

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