A lot of women nearly experience mental health disorders during pregnancy. Sometimes, there are conditions that even last even after giving birth. That’s why there’s a need for properly understanding the impact of psychological problems faced by pregnant women. It is vital not only for the soon-to-be mothers but also crucial for the well-being of the child. And since pregnancy is the golden period in every woman’s life, one must focus on keeping the physical, emotional, and mental health in good condition.
As immediately as I realized the power of my body to engage in creation, and the intense feeling of meaningfulness, I began to fear the changes my body would go through. — Shirley Katz, PhD, CCC
Pregnancy And It’s Health Risk
Pregnancy is a stage where mental, emotional, and physical challenges can double its effect. There are times that some of the dangers can usually go unnoticed. And though the physical problems associated with pregnancy can somehow get easily addressed, the psychological challenges tend to be different. There are significant risk factors that pregnant women dwell. That’s primarily in the development of mental health issue. And since most women are not aware of the devastating effects of mental illness, they somehow think that anxiety and depression are reasonable in their stage. Not knowing that those certain illnesses cause significant morbidity for both the mother and the unborn child.
The most common psychological disorder during pregnancy is classified broadly as “maternal depression.” It is where women’s mood disorders are the result of the hormonal and physiological changes that their body is experiencing during the stage. Aside from the constant mood swings, anxiety and depression also take place. It constitutes a major emotional disturbance in the prenatal stage. It appears clinically classified in major groups. These are major depression, gestational and postpartum depression or also known as baby blues.
Media images portraying pregnant women blissfully anticipating birth with swollen bellies may further trouble women who feel down or anxious while pregnant and may further compound a sense of helplessness or a drop in willingness to reach out for help. — Andrea Schneider, LCSW
In pregnancy, depression is a self-limiting emotional and mental disturbance that severely affects the lives of both the mother and child. The triggering factor may vary from every pregnant woman’s environment, social convention, and even lifestyle. In some cases, the disturbance is also due to the rapid rise of hormone levels during pregnancy. As well as the sudden changes in chemicals in the brain can also lead to depression. In particular circumstances, the causes of depression in pregnant women are stressful life events, financial troubles, relationship problems, or even the death of a loved one. With these instances, symptoms like difficulty in sleeping, weight loss and change in appetite, irritability, constant fatigue, and restlessness become apparent. Pregnant women when depressed are also uncharacteristic and unpredictable. In some worse cases, there are recurrent thoughts of self-harm or suicide. The mental condition during pregnancy also triggers a feeling of guilt and worthlessness where it leads women to think that having a baby is impossible to handle. Aside from that, it is important to note that untreated depression may lead to severe consequences such as substance abuse which could cause the death of the child. Where it impairs the mother’s ability to support and promote the child’s cognitive and emotional development.
Anxiety disorder is the characterization of sudden panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and hyperventilation. Pregnant women may also experience repeated thoughts and images of a frightening and terrible thing that might happen to them and their baby. Usually, there are thoughts of “what ifs” that they get to believe to be the reality. Though some may say that the mental condition is only temporary, there are cases that it lasts for an extended period. Anxiety makes pregnant women think about unrealistic scenarios during their state. With that mental illness, they often make irrelevant decisions, do unnecessary things, and believe what others say even without considering evidence and facts. There are cases that most mothers’ psychiatric condition constitutes in a medical emergency due to neonatal outcomes.’
It is important that new mothers feel supported in a non-judgmental environment when they are in therapy. — Cecelia Quinn, PhD., LCSW
It is vital that pregnant women be well-informed about the serious risk involved in their state as well as their mental health. They need to take into account a specific diagnosis so they can follow better healthcare recommendations. The mental condition often necessitates proper treatment as well as lifestyle changes to help both the mother and child in the process. Pregnant women should consider treatment such as psychotherapy and medication to keep them and the baby in a healthy condition completely. Also, it is advisable that before any pregnant mothers take mood stabilizers, antidepressant, or anti-anxiety agents, they should consult a professional healthcare provider.