Pregnancy is the period in a woman’s life when a baby is growing inside the womb. It is a period known to significantly affect mental health, considering the many hormonal changes that moms-to-be experience.
This period is usually nine months and is divided into three sections. The early signs of pregnancy usually vary, with the most common symptoms being fatigue, sensitivity to smells, sore breasts, low temperature and sensitivity to certain foods. Some women experience morning sickness and mood swings, while others experience no signs at all.
Factors which Influence Pregnancy
Several factors are considered to determine how risky a pregnancy is to the lives of the mother and baby. These factors include age and health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Expectant mothers are always advised to secure their physical health as well as their emotional and mental wellbeing.
Pregnant women experience a wide range of emotions, from bouts of anxiety and mood swings to excitement and joy. The psychological and emotional changes during this period help keep both mother and baby healthy and safe. Pregnant women are advised to be alert for emotional instability like persistent sadness, feelings of depression and anxiety or even insomnia or sleep deprivation.
Several factors can affect pregnant women mentally apart from anxiety, depression and other forms of emotional distress. Expecting mothers also experience internal and social pressures that they don’t need. They are bombarded with information on changing their lifestyles, like which foods to consume, how to give birth, how to cope with daily stressors, etc. Most women have to deal with feedback concerning how they look and what they are doing, which sometimes leads to more stress.
Mood Swings During Pregnancy
Most women experience mood swings when pregnant. They become moody around the first trimester and again in the third trimester, which is a result of the drastic changes in hormone levels. Mood swings tend to end after delivery or when hormone levels return to normal. There are three main factors that affect the mood in pregnant women: hormonal imbalances, fatigue and stress.
Causes of Mood Swings
Hormones are known to affect mood in pregnant women and can also influence other events that affect the mood. Some of these hormones include androgen or testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and oxytocin.
Because of a lack of sufficient sleep, pregnant women tend to experience irritability. As a result, they are likely to experience mood changes.
Pregnancy comes with a lot of stress. Pregnant women are constantly thinking about the baby’s and their own health. Stress can significantly affect one’s mood.
Depression During Pregnancy
Although being pregnant is supposed to bring happiness to a woman’s life, several factors trigger a myriad of emotions during this period. Pregnant women tend to experience different emotions, including confusion, excitement, fear and even depression or stress. Prenatal depression is a disorder that a significant number of women experience—estimated to be about 15 to 20 percent of pregnant women. While postpartum depression is the most addressed, many people ignore prenatal depression because it is caused by temporary hormonal changes during pregnancy. However, it is a serious condition that can be dangerous to both the baby and mother if not addressed. The first step toward treating prenatal depression is seeking help from a qualified physician. They are better positioned to recommend treatments such as joining a support group, light therapy or medication.
Causes of Depression
There are many factors that can trigger depression during pregnancy. The most common include the following:
- Relationship problems
- Infertility treatments
- History of trauma
- History of abuse
- Prior pregnancy loss
- Personal or family history of depression
- Stressful life events
It is essential to gain more knowledge and understand the kinds of pressure pregnant women go through to avoid being one of the stressors. People who are around pregnant women play a significant role in the expecting mothers’ mental wellness as research has found that there is a significant connection between depression and stress during pregnancy. They should be conscious of the pressure they could put on women through their words or actions.
Related Content: The Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping
In the past, the common practice was to pass Dad the surgical scissors and have him perform a quick snip just before the newborn babe was whisked away to be cleaned, measured and dosed with vitamin K. Any delay in cord cutting was viewed as unnecessary in promoting general health for the baby or mother. However, recent research suggests that a delay of even three minutes can have a significant positive impact on infants.