Society often portrays pregnancy as a time of joyful anticipation, but for many women and their partners, this portrayal doesn’t reflect reality. Being pregnant comes with a whole host of physical symptoms and emotional changes that can be unexpected and overwhelming, even during a planned pregnancy. With an unplanned pregnancy, there can be even more to navigate.
If you’re pregnant and feeling stressed, uncertain, or otherwise in need of mental health support, you’re certainly not alone. As many as 1 in 5 women experience mental health issues during pregnancy or after giving birth, and many are unsure where to turn. At Atwell Centre, we’re dedicated to helping women and their partners access appropriate mental health support and treatment options throughout pregnancy and the postnatal period.
Pregnancy & Mental Health
There’s a lot to process during pregnancy. From physical and hormonal changes to practical concerns and emotional shifts, there are countless reasons why women may experience mental health problems. Anxiety and depression are the most common conditions experienced during the perinatal period, but other issues may arise as well, particularly in women who have a past history of specific mental health concerns.
Common triggers for mental health issues during pregnancy can include:
- Physical and hormonal changes
- Lack of sleep
- Fears about health complications for you or the baby
- Concerns about changing roles (becoming a mother, leaving work, etc.)
- Financial worries
- Relationship changes
- Fear of childbirth
- Feeling alone
When To Seek Mental Health Support During Pregnancy
History of Mental Health Issues
If you have a past history of anxiety or depression or have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, seeking mental health services throughout pregnancy and the postnatal period is vital. Pregnancy is a vulnerable period for many women, but it’s also a crucial time for taking care of yourself and your unborn child while building up resiliency for the future. Mental health support and treatment can be a game-changer.
Proactive Support & Treatment
Even if you’re feeling positive about your pregnancy and don’t have a history of mental health issues, proactively seeking mental health support during the perinatal period can be very beneficial. Emotional support during pregnancy can decrease problems during pregnancy and improve the health of your newborn. It can lower the amount of stress, depression, and anxiety you experience during pregnancy and after giving birth, potentially preventing the need for mental health treatment. In addition, situations and emotions can switch rapidly, and it’s always a good idea to have a mental health support system already in place in case you find that you need it.
What Treatment Options Are Available During Pregnancy?
Support From Family & Friends
Being open with friends and family about how you’re feeling and what you are experiencing and asking for the emotional support you need is one of the most important ways to ensure positive outcomes.
Talking to a counsellor or psychologist, or joining a support group for pregnant women, may be the best treatment option if you feel that you need some professional support to deal with distressing thoughts and feelings.
If it’s determined that medication is the best course of treatment for your mental health, a healthcare provider can help you to make the best decisions about which medications to take and how to take them safely during pregnancy.
If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant and need support, call Atwell Centre. At Atwell Centre our professional medical and social service staff will walk alongside you as you face the challenges of pregnancy and the post-partum period. Staff will help you figure out your needs, provide support, link you to Atwell’s programs that will benefit you, and refer and connect you to community resources that can provide further support to you during this crucial time.
We offer pregnancy support services that include: Pregnancy Tests and Options, our Pregnancy & Beyond program, Stabilization Counselling, STI Testing, Post-Abortion Support, and Post-Adoption Support to birth parents . Book an appointment online, give us a call, or visit us in person with your pregnancy mental health concerns.