For both parents, pregnancy can have a wide-ranging impact on your life. From time to finances, a baby is much bigger than the bundle it presents – so preparing in every way can make a difference to how well you will cope.
Physical Preparation for Pregnancy
Making sure you are in the best possible physical health for pregnancy is reasonably straightforward. There are some steps that can be taken to create a positive environment for your health (and your baby’s health), and they include:
- Stop smoking and reduce alcohol consumption – best for the health of you and for your baby.
- Achieve a healthy weight – obese and underweight women have more problems with pregnancy.
- Speak to your GP – check you are up to date on vaccinations and Pap smears.
- Stop using contraception – especially hormonal, as it can take some time for your cycle to get back to normal.
- Take pregnancy supplements – like NutraCare PregmaPlus+ 1
Risk Factors for Mental Health Problems
Alongside the physical preparations, the mental health of parents is just as important. Stress, worries and fears are normal throughout pregnancy, with 1 in 10 expectant mothers and 1 in 20 expectant fathers suffering from antenatal anxiety and depression. There are certain risk factors to be aware of, including:
- Past problems with pregnancies; severe morning sickness, difficult births or miscarriages
- Feeling unsupported
- Struggling with life problems, like a failing relationship
- Past or current abuse
- Drug and alcohol problems
Whether you suffer from mental health problems when you are not pregnant, they can develop, and there is no shame if it does happen to you.
How to Get Help
If you are concerned about your mental health while planning to get pregnant or during pregnancy, then there are places you can go to get help. Talk to your partner or another trusted friend or ask your GP or midwife. If you want to talk to someone, then there are organisations available that can help, such as PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia).
Tips for Managing Mental Health
There is a lot of pressure on expectant parents, and if your experience is not the same as other people it can feel like you are not doing your best. Setting your own standards too high – or putting too much pressure on yourself can make your mental health suffer.
Be realistic about what is going on with your pregnancy. Listen to your body and rest when you need to so that you don’t expect too much of yourself.
Try and avoid making major life changes and decisions – like moving to a new house or ending a relationship – if you can avoid it. Adding pregnancy to the stresses of those big changes is a recipe for disaster.
Being healthy and looking after yourself physically can have a huge impact on your mental health. Eat as well as you can manage and move – regular meals and regular exercise will help you find balance. Ensuring you are getting all the nutrients you need will make you feel better, even if eating is difficult (like if you are struggling with morning sickness). Trust NutraCare here to ensure that you are getting all the vitamins, minerals and prebiotics that you need.
Make connections with other expectant parents and try and surround yourself with positive and supportive people so that you don’t feel alone – and accept help when and if it is offered.
Don’t be worried about asking for help if you need it – as an expectant parent you need to be willing to reach out if you feel like you might be struggling.