Written by Liza John
An emotional rollercoaster- is how many women would describe their pregnancies. True enough, you may often find yourself swaying from excitement or joy or feelings of love to feelings of anxiety, stress, or panic, except there’s no stop button on this ride.
The mood swings and hormonal imbalances may make a mess out of your mental health. It is common for women to overlook their mental health during pregnancy as they focus on the child’s growth. But before you know it, your mental health turns your life into a nightmare.
Studies suggest that about one in every seven mothers may develop a mental health problem during pregnancy.
Giving priority to your mental health during pregnancy has numerous advantages like, a healthy baby, lower chances of developing any mental or physical health issues in your baby. In this article, we have compiled some tips to help you stay mentally active throughout your pregnancy.
- Get Support
Our society has stigmatised motherhood to be a joyous occasion where mothers have to be happy all the time. Some women suppress their true feelings and try to live under all that stress under this pretext, which ultimately leads to more harm than good.
First step to acknowledging your mental health is to let go of this stigma. It is okay to be not okay. With that off the chest, go talk to someone in your circle. Talk to your partner, best friend, or anyone about how you actually feel. Vent it out!
- Adopt A Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle does not mean you have to be a fitness freak and hit the gym 6 days a week, lifting heavy weights, and devouring protein shakes. All you have to do is make a few smart and healthy choices every day. For example, taking the stairs to climb a couple of stories rather than taking the elevator. Or choosing a bowl of fruit over a high calorie high sugar snack.
- Eating Healthy
Diet is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle. When you’re pregnant, you’ll need to eat a few extra calories each day. Instead of letting your cravings win and chomping down on refined junk food, eat healthy. Ensure you get a balanced mix of leafy greens, fruit, lean meat, nuts and whole grains.
Healthy diets have been linked with lesser mood fluctuations and a more pleasant attitude. Studies suggest that healthy diets even seem to help with improving depression and anxiety.
- Stay Active
Staying active can improve your mood and relieve stress. Pregnant women are recommended to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week.
Jogging, walking, swimming, or yoga can help you meet this weekly quota. Exercising releases endorphins which is good for you as well as your baby.
- Sleep Well and Stay Hydrated
Inadequate sleep has been linked to depression and a weakened immunity. It can interfere with your ability to control your emotions and cause a rise in mood swings. Rest when you can, take short naps and prioritize getting enough rest every day.
Doctors recommend that pregnant women drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water every day. Staying hydrated offers many benefits such as reducing the risks of preterm birth, or urinary tract infections and decreases constipation. If you don’t feel like drinking water, add a couple of slices of fruits or a few sprigs of herbs for flavour.
- Prenatal Massage
Massage therapy can help ease your muscles, improve blood circulation, and help you relax. A prenatal massage may in fact improve hormone levels apart from relieving body aches and can act as a huge mood booster.
- Get Medical Help
Pregnancies can be confusing, emotionally draining, and extremely stressful. You may not always be able to know correctly if you can manage your emotions effectively or if it hints at a more serious issue. Contact your doctor if you find yourself in such situations. They may recommend you counselling or other therapies depending on the severity of the problem.
Practising self-care, prioritising rest and “you time”, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits will help you stay mentally healthy throughout your pregnancy. Do not hesitate to get help from your peers or seek medical attention, if necessary.