Tips on coping with depression and anxiety when pregnant

The one thing about pregnancy is that it tends to transform most women into worrywarts – and for good reason considering that being pregnant makes them literally grow a life inside themselves. The moment you find out that you are pregnant, it is natural for you to fret about what you eat, drink, think, do and feel. You will also find yourself worrying about your baby’s health, how her arrival will change your life and whether you will be able to become a good parent or not. Such worries are fine, but when your anxiety starts interfering with your day-to-day activities and become all-consuming, it’s time that you start dealing with it.

Research conducted by experts in the field suggests that nearly 33 percent of women start experiencing depression and anxiety at some point or the other in their pregnancy. The worst part is that these women find it hard to communicate their problems with their partners and other family members for the simple reason that they are believed to be happy when pregnant. However, there is no need for you to suffer if you are depressed or feel anxious during pregnancy – there are plenty of safe ways that you can try to get rid of your fears and depression.

Before going into details about what you can do to avert depression and anxiety in pregnancy, let me tell you that if you start feeling overly anxious or are concerned about something pertaining to yours or your baby’s health, make sure that you reach out to your health care provider right away. Apart from that, here are a few tips that will surely help you out:

7 Rest a lot and just concentrate on your baby

Honestly speaking, resting is good for both you and your baby so if you skip out on a few chores around the home for it, there’s no need at all for you to feel guilty about it. Take out all the time you can to just focus on your bump. Connect with your baby by chatting with and singing to her. Believe it or not, but she can hear whatever you say from about 23 weeks onwards. So relax and take this time to bond with your unborn baby and soothe her by singing to her. As you focus on your baby, all those thoughts of stress, anxiety and depression will literally vanish.

Also, if you are tired, listen to your body and go to bed a bit early. Remember the fact that your body is putting in the best of its efforts to provide nourishment to your developing baby and needs all the rest in the world. Yes, taking a break may be hard particularly if you already have children, but you deserve a bit of time out to yourself. If you don’t take a break, you will keep stressing over things and that is sure to increase your depression. So, take out time and ask your partner or other family members to look after your kid(s) for the evening so you can relax and unwind for a bit.

Don’t lose your mind over health concerns

Women who have a problem with anxiety at times get overly focused on their health concerns. If this is the case with you, well, stop spending endless hours trying to Google your health issues – get the information straight from your doctor and focus on doing things that will help you stay distracted.

6 Talk things out

Keeping your concerns and feelings bottled up inside you is literally the last thing that you should do during pregnancy. Instead, it is highly recommended for you to talk about them with your partner, a trusted friend, a close family member or even your midwife. If you find it hard to talk to all these people, then it is best for you to join support groups on the internet. This way, it will be extremely easy for you to bond with other women who have the same concerns and feelings – and they will help you learn how to deal with them too.

In case you are worried about a personal matter or are concerned about your baby’s well-being, you could always talk about it with your midwife and she is bound to reassure you. There is no reason for you to be scared about admitting your feelings. By being honest, you will actually be able to receive all the support that you need and deserve during this crucial moment of your life.

Don’t let your partner feel left out

Just because you are stressed out doesn’t mean you should make your partner feel left out. Take out a bit of time and share your concerns and fears with him. You just might come to discover that you both have pretty much the same worries. This way, your partner may also open up to you about the concerns and fears that he has, thereby making it possible for both of you to feel better about the whole experience of pregnancy. Honestly speaking, you’ll do yourself and your partner a favor by opening up to him.

5 Eat as well as you can

Eating well has the potential to benefit your mind and your body too. In order to lift your mood, it is highly recommended for you to consume a healthy diet of omega-3 essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins.

If you are suffering from depression, you should eat oily fish and seafood as it contains omega-3 fatty acids that work wonders in terms of reducing depression. If possible, it is best for you to try to have at least two portions of oily fish a week. These are inclusive of:

  • Trout
  • Pilchards
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines

These also contain the essential amino acid tryptophan, which can assist in enhancing your mood and alleviating depression. The thing with tryptophan is that it raises the levels of brain chemicals serotonin and melatonin. Both of them play a vital role in helping people sleep and boost their feelings of well-being. Our bodies don’t have the potential to produce tryptophan, which is why you can only acquire it from things that you eat. It can easily be found it nuts and seeds that you may snack on along with eggs, fish, turkey, chicken, cheese and yoghurt. So, to give your mood a bit of a boost (one that you truly deserve) make sure that you eat well and all the food items mentioned here are a regular part of your diet.

Consider your water intake

Also, it is necessary for you to keep an eye on the amount of water that you drink. This is because dehydration can also make you feel anxious. For the best results, drink about 8 glasses of fluid a day.

4 Exercise!

Believe it or not, but exercising can work like magic in terms of improving your mood. The best part is that exercising is completely safe during pregnancy, thereby giving you all the more reasons to pay attention to it. If you’re the sort of person who hasn’t exercised in a while, well, let’s just say that pregnancy is a wonderful opportunity for you to start off on it – however, make sure that you start slowly and gently.

One of the best exercises for you to indulge in to avert depression and anxiety during pregnancy is that of swimming. Not only will it help you remain toned, you’ll also have nothing to worry about in terms of things being too hard on your joints. If possible, it is recommended for you to look into aquanatal classes that might be offered at your local school. In case you find one, make sure that you don’t miss out on the opportunity to join these classes. However, just in case you can’t go swimming for some reason, it is vital for you to fit in a daily walk of about 20 minutes in your daily schedule. If truth be told, exercising should be a regular part of your life during pregnancy so you can ward off those feelings of depression and anxiety. If you can’t exercise much, get off your desk at work and walk around a bit!

Pregnancy yoga

Apart from everything else, it is also recommended for you to practice pregnancy yoga. Apart from stretching your body, yoga will also tone it and you will also get to work on meditation and breathing relaxation techniques. 

3 Stop thinking about money

For once, stop thinking about money matters. If you find yourself worrying about having to pay for baby clothes and equipment, well, get things off your mind by making a list of the items that you think you need. Once your list is finalized, work out the items that you believe your family members and friends will be willing to lend to you.

If truth be told, there’s a good chance that you won’t have to buy everything you’ve mentioned on your list. You can easily borrow off things like a Moses basket, which won’t come in handy after two or three months. The best part is that there are many baby items that you can purchase second-hand as well. Also, if you want to save up during pregnancy, but don’t know where to start cutting down, make sure that you go through our article on tips and tricks that will help you save money while pregnant 

While you are at it, you could always enquire about local children’s center through your midwife or get in touch with one directly. Doing this will work wonders in terms of acquiring grants that will help you purchase baby equipment and the children’s center is going to handle everything for you. There’s also a good chance that they will tell you about shops where you can purchase top quality second-hand items like prams and cots.

Get your full entitlement

If you are working, it is extremely important for you to receive your full entitlement of maternity pay and leave.To acquire more information in this regard, make sure that you get in touch with your human resources manager right away.

2 Complementary therapies are wonderful too

One of the best means of de-stressing is that of getting a massage. There are many videos available on the internet these days that you can show to your partner and ask him to give you a relaxation massage or a lower back massage so you may relax and de-stress. However, if you plan on using essential oils in treatments like an aromatherapy massage, make sure that you check them for safety in pregnancy. Also, there are many beauty salons and spas that offer pregnancy massage treatments, so find out about them and plan a visit so you may be able to unwind.

Apart from massages, you should also try out positive visualization techniques and meditation. The best part is that these are free and you can perform them no matter where you are. These means of relaxation basically help you unwind by focusing on a single thing, which is the reason why they are frequently used in yoga. Also, meditation will make it possible for you to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. For this reason, if you have symptoms of anxiety or depression during pregnancy, it is highly recommended for you to find a pregnancy yoga class near you. But if you don’t want to spend money, just teach yourself to meditate.

Try reflexology

Another very useful complementary therapy that you can try out is that of reflexology. In this technique, you’ll have to use pressure points in our feet to treat you. However, make sure that you work with a therapist trained in treating pregnant women.

1 Focus on preparing for birth and family life

In order to divert your mind and avert depression and anxiety, acquire more and more knowledge about what happens during labor. For this, it is highly recommended for you to sign up for antenatal classes.

If you plan on having a planned C-section, discuss in detail with your obstetrician or midwife about what will happen on the day. Once done, just work on drawing up a C-section birth plan. Not only will you be able to have everything planned out for yourself ahead of time, you will also be in the position to remain more in control and feel all the more confident.

Also, if you are planning on delivering your baby at a birth center or in hospital, it is highly recommended for you to visits its delivery suite beforehand. If you can’t have a real tour, an online option will probably be available. By knowing what to expect from the labor room ahead of time will help you ease out your stress and keep your mind at rest. However, if you are totally overwhelmed by the thought of having a vaginal birth, then it is best for you to discuss a planned C-section with your doctor.

Give time to thoughts of family life and parenting

With time, your life is definitely going to change, but the one thing that you need to remember is that you will learn about the ins and outs of pregnancy along the way. Instead of fretting over things, give time to positive thoughts of how you will manage things for yourself and your family.

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