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9 Things Every Woman Should Know About Mental Health During Pregnancy, Part 2

By: Bridgette W. Gottwald, LPC, NCC

What Are 9 Things Every Woman Should Know About Mental Health During Pregnancy?

Part II

Did you know that a recent study found that postpartum depression often begins before a woman gives birth? Here are some things that soon-to-be mothers should know about mental health during pregnancy. Part one of this two-part blog series shared the first three and here are the last six!

  1. The sooner you get treatment, the better

Most of my clients have heard me say this before, but the time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining. What does this mean and what does it have to do with therapy? Well, often when people come into therapy, it is when they are amidst a crisis or have hit “rock bottom.” Mental health, similar to physical health is about general maintenance and upkeep and getting help early on makes the situation easier to manage. Also, mental health struggles can “have an impact upon attachment and bonding” and for that reason, treatment should begin early. There is no reason or benefit from a woman (or any person for that matter) waiting to get help.

  1. Getting help is important for you and your baby 

Anxiety and depression are sneaky and they tend to snowball quickly. Being a mother is hard enough as is, but if you throw in deep sadness and panic attacks daily, things become pretty dysfunctional and unmanageable. This puts both you and your baby at risk or things escalating and getting worse.

  1. Treatment is highly effective 

Creating balance and getting to a place of equilibrium amidst life is so important – and that’s what therapists are there for. One of the main reasons “perinatal depression and anxiety respond well to treatment is because being pregnant and having a baby throw things out of balance in a woman’s life.” Getting help from someone who is objective, yet has seen this story before can help you to regain that balance. 

  1. Progress often happens quickly, although it can require patience 

It’s not uncommon for people to feel better after just one or two sessions, and I’ve experienced this myself in practice with my clients. It depends upon the client’s needs and it’s important to remember that each experience and situation is unique to the individual. Making small strides and steps towards progress is what matters!

  1. Therapy can include support groups

Feeling isolated and ashamed about getting help or treatment can come along with connecting with other mothers, but allowing yourself to be vulnerable and willing to take this step is key to getting better. Research shows that as a woman “becomes aware that support is, in fact, available, her struggle decreases in intensity.”

  1. You can take the first step online today 

A simple way to get help is through Postpartum Support International, which includes support groups in every state. 

Reading all of this information may have made you feel informed and ready to hit the ground running with taking action, or it could have caused you to feel overwhelmed. First of all, take a deep breath. Remember that you are not alone in this, and things can and will get better if the right steps are taken. You have what it takes! Give yourself some credit for all that you and your body have accomplished, no matter where you are in your pregnancy. The best is yet to come! 

Reference:

Dibenedetto, C. (2015). 9 things every woman should know about mental health during pregnancy. Health.com. Retrieved from: https://www.health.com/condition/depression/postpartum-depression-often-begins-during-pregnancy-a-new-study-finds

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