As an expectant mother, you know you and your baby need regular prenatal visits to stay healthy. But, between flipping through books of baby names and registering for the perfect pair of tiny shoes, you may not be making time for another important medical service—mental health care.
Whether you’ve suffered from mental health issues in the past or you simply want to start your journey into parenthood with a clear head, seeking out therapy can make sure you’re emotional and psychological wellness is taken care of as well as your physical health—giving you the mental space to take care of your baby and yourself.
Pregnancy is an incredible process but, at the same time, it’s a stressful time of your life. From the struggles of unplanned pregnancies and financial concerns to worries over potential health issues before or during childbirth, there’s a lot to handle. That’s not even considering the logistical concerns of scheduling appointments, planning childcare, and other preparation. With so much going on, paired with the physical and hormonal changes you’re undergoing, it comes as no surprise that pre-and postnatal mental health issues are common.
The right therapist will be a powerful tool in helping you ease these concerns and manage your stress, whether it’s due to your pregnancy or simply happening concurrently. As the Ross Center, a comprehensive source for therapy in NY and beyond, explains, “You’ll gain practical tools to attack the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges, resulting in positive change and a more hopeful future.” Not only can cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of psychotherapy help you feel better in the moment, but they will also give you the tools you need to step into parenthood with ease.
Health concerns arising during pregnancy are a major source of stress for first-time parents-to-be. But, for those who have existing medical conditions, it’s all the more concerning. Preexisting conditions such as migraine headaches, asthma, high blood pressure, and epilepsy can lead to pregnancy complications. For patients who’ve dealt with substance use disorder or trauma in the past, pregnancy may be especially triggering. And, for those patients dealing with mood disorders and other mental health issues, any medication adjustments that have to be made during pregnancy can worsen or increase symptoms.
When possible, it can help to consult your clinician before conception to help prepare you for pregnancy both mentally and physically. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have and ask about the tools, methods, and knowledge they have at their disposal. Do they use equipment such as a Vave Health wireless ultrasound to give the best patient experience possible? Is their office a safe space for you to get the care you need? Have they worked with pregnant patients with your diagnoses before? If your doctor doesn’t seem to meet your needs, check with your health insurance provider to find another in-network physician that’s a better fit for you and your baby. A psychotherapist can help you make these decisions or deal with your concerns, letting you better manage your pregnancy despite preexisting conditions.
While pregnancy is a dream come true for many couples, it also presents an unprecedented challenge. From the financial strain and adapting sense of self to physical changes and overall stress, it’s all too common for relationship problems to appear during pregnancy. The physical and emotional symptoms of pregnancy itself coupled with impending life changes are simply too much for some couples to handle.
Attending couples’ therapy or meeting with a clinical psychologist can help combat relationship issues from the first session onward. The right therapist can help you and your partner overcome your concerns, manage the stress that comes with pregnancy, and prepare for the future in an effective way. When these psychotherapy efforts are a success, you’ll have a more collaborative relationship and be able to step into parenthood with newfound strength.
By incorporating therapy sessions into your prenatal plan, you’ll be making a difference in your mental health. You’ll be better able to manage the stress of pregnancy and, when the time comes, take better care of your baby. Physical concerns, mental health issues, and strained relationships may make your pregnancy a challenge, but the right psychotherapist will get you through them, leaving you with the tools to manage your overall wellness for years to come.