Your Emotional Well-Being
Pregnancy is so exciting—or is that anxiety? You might be feeling a swirl of many different emotions all at once. You may be worried about your health and your baby’s health. You may be excited to welcome your baby home. You may be sad to wish your old life goodbye.
Taking care of your mental health during pregnancy is just as important as taking care of your physical health. While mood swings are normal, if you are unable to feel happy or are not coping as well with difficulties, you may need additional help.
If you are feeling extreme worry or cannot feel happy, please talk to your doctor to find help. Your doctor may recommend:
Therapists are trained professionals who can help you navigate the emotions surrounding pregnancy. They can also teach you coping skills for difficult moments and techniques for easing anxiety and stress. Regular therapy can help you through current challenges and prepare you for the newborn days.
Many medications for depression and anxiety are safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding. Combined with therapy, they can be very effective at helping you feel more like yourself. If you currently take any medications for a mental health disorder, continue taking them unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Your mental health is important for a healthy pregnancy.
Creating a Birth Plan
Pregnancy can make you feel like you aren’t quite in control and that your body isn’t your own. Creating a birth plan that is personalized for you and your baby can help you feel more confident in your labor and delivery. It can help you feel more in control over your experience.
It also ensures that you have what you need to ease anxiety and pain during labor. You can choose to play soft music, keep the lights low, use water therapy, or many other techniques to help you feel relaxed when your baby is on the way.
Knowing Your Rights
Many women experience stress during pregnancy because they don’t know how it will affect their careers and incomes. You may even be worried about facing discrimination at work—or even losing your job.
As a pregnant woman, you are protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This act makes it illegal for your employee to fire you or discriminate against you because you are pregnant. As long as you can perform the functions of your job as well as anyone else with similar limitations, you cannot be fired.
You also are protected by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA protects your job for up to 12 weeks if you need to take a break from working for medical reasons, such as pregnancy.
If you feel you have faced discrimination because of your pregnancy, you should contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to learn what actions you can take.
Both during pregnancy and after your baby arrives, classes and support groups can help you connect to other expectant and new mothers who are sharing your experience. At Bellevue Woman’s Center, we offer classes and support groups for expectant mothers to help them feel more prepared for their babies.
You can also determine who your support people in your life. Who do you turn to when you are feeling down or stressed? It may be your partner, a parent, a sibling, or a very close friend. It’s a good idea to talk to these people regularly and express to them any anxiety or stress you are feeling. They can help you both during pregnancy and after your baby arrives. Don’t be afraid to ask them to help you when you feel overwhelmed in getting your house ready for baby or even just running out to get groceries.
You don’t need to face pregnancy alone. Find support and speak to your doctor if you are having emotional or mental health difficulties during your pregnancy.