According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10% of women experience mental illnesses during pregnancy. The number of pregnant women with mental conditions, such as stress, depression, and anxiety, is higher in developing countries. The WHO data shows that 15.6% of women suffer from mental health conditions during pregnancy in developing countries.
Feeling stressed or depressed is common during pregnancy because your body undergoes many changes. Pregnancy affects your physical, mental, and emotional health. You may welcome changes related to pregnancy, but they can lead to new stresses.
About 10-20% of known pregnancy usually ends in miscarriage. Although there is very little evidence, some studies highlight stress as a contributor to miscarriage. Anyway, mental illness in any form is not good for your overall health and well-being, especially if you are pregnant.
In today’s article, we will give you some tips to help you stay active and relax during the nine months. Read on!
Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating a healthy balanced diet improves your physical health and enhances your psychological well-being. A good diet for a pregnant woman comprises various nutrient-rich foods, such as meats, vegetables, and fruits.
You can eat dark, green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and broccoli. These veggies are a rich source of essential nutrients that can reduce stress and anxiety during pregnancy. Vegetables provide vitamin A, C, K, fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, and folate.
Avoid eating low-quality food items such as processed meats, cereals, and sugary snacks because they can increase your blood sugar levels. Studies show that elevated blood glucose levels can cause stress during pregnancy, leading to unhealthy behaviors, including overeating, alcohol consumption, and cigarette smoking.
It is important to focus on a healthy diet to reduce stress and improve mental well-being. Not only does a well-balanced diet keep you healthy, but it also leads to the healthy development of your baby.
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of adequate sleep can lead to many complications during pregnancy, such as hypertension, insomnia, stress, depression, Preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes. Health professionals recommend sleeping at least eight hours during pregnancy. Proper sleep boosts your immune system and improves brain function.
Getting enough sleep can also regulate growth hormone levels, leading to the healthy development of the fetus. Because pregnancy can make you feel tired and exhausted all day long, it is essential to sleep more in the first trimester because your body needs rest to normalize the fast heartbeat and blood production.
Pregnancy causes stress and mood swings, but you can tackle these problems with proper rest. A good sleep routine during pregnancy can calm and restore your body, regulates mood, sharpen judgment, improve concentration, and avoid stress.
Go for Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation methods like meditation, deep breathing, hypnobirthing, and music therapy can alleviate stress and improve your mood. For instance, you can do meditation to cope with various physical and mental stresses during pregnancy. It also lowers blood pressure, increases focus/concentration, and soothes neurons.
It is not necessary to meditate for 30 minutes. Instead, you can sit on the floor or in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Follow your inhalation (in-breath) and exhalation (out-breath).
Mindful meditation increases your blood circulation and supplies more oxygen to your brain. As a result, your cortisol levels (stress-causing hormone) drop, leading to a calm, relaxed, and pleasant mood.
Get Support from Family and Friends
Experts say it is absolutely fine to feel anxious during pregnancy. However, excessive thinking and negative emotions can cause stress and depression. So, you can discuss your feelings with your husband, family member, relative, or friend.
Sharing your thoughts will help ease your mind and let you focus on positive things. If you are not a talkative person, you can write a diary or keep an online journal to document your feelings.
One of the best ways to improve your mental health during pregnancy is taking psychotherapy sessions. However, it all depends on your mental health status. For example, if you have mild anxiety, you can alleviate it without having discussions with a therapist.
It is essential to treat your mental health issues during pregnancy. If you are stressed, depressed, or anxious during your pregnancy, it can lead to severe consequences, such as poor child development or miscarriage. Most women turn to alcohol and drugs during pregnancy, which can affect your growing baby. The tips mentioned above and tricks can help you overcome your mental health concerns during pregnancy.