If you find that you may be experiencing any of the described symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder, or are just finding it difficult to cope during pregnancy, it is important that you seek help sooner rather than later, so that the problem can be identified (whether it be physical or emotional) and treated.
We know that these conditions can be debilitating, and impact not only on you emotionally, but they can also impact on all areas of your life. This includes your ability to function from day to day at work or at home, as well as your relationships with your partner, family and friends. For pregnant women we also know that if these conditions become more severe, it can impact on the stress hormones which can pass through the placenta to the developing baby.
So for all these reasons, getting on top of these conditions before the arrival of the baby is best. After all, after the baby arrives there will be many other adjustments to deal with, including meeting the needs of the new baby and the potential lack of sleep.
So take this opportunity to get on top of things now. You can talk with your midwife or GP at your next routine appointment, or make an appointment with someone to talk about this issue specifically. It is also advised that men start out by making an appointment with their GP in the first instance.
Your health professional may ask you a series of questions about how you have been thinking or feeling and questions about your experiences and situation to gain an understanding about whether you may be at risk of or experiencing emotional and/or mental health concerns. Women may be routinely asked similar questions as part of routine maternity care. Just as you regularly undertake physical assessments in pregnancy (for example, blood pressure, protein, gestational diabetes), this is done so that potential risks and concerns can be identified and managed early.
If you are experiencing an emotional or mental health problem, it’s good to remember that for women there are effective treatments for depression and anxiety than can be safely used during pregnancy. These include both talking therapies and medical treatments, whilst bipolar disorder will most certainly require medical treatment and monitoring.
With all mental health conditions, the faster you seek help the faster you can recover. Getting help for depression, anxiety or mental health conditions is important, so take this opportunity to be proactive and get help sooner rather than later, and don’t leave it until things have got worse, or until the baby arrives.