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Mental health roller coaster during pregnancy: Recognising and managing common issues | Health

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi

Pregnancy can be a time of great joy and excitement, a kind of roller coaster ride but it can also bring about significant changes in a woman’s mental health hence, it is important to recognise that mental health issues can arise or be exacerbated during pregnancy and it is essential to address these issues to ensure the well-being of both the mother and the baby.

Mental health roller coaster during pregnancy: Recognising and managing common issues (Photo by Pixabay)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Prasad Kulat, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Ankura Hospital in Pune, revealed some common mental health issues that can affect pregnant women –

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  1. Depression: Depression is a common mental health issue that can affect pregnant women. Symptoms may include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite or sleep patterns and difficulty concentrating.
  2. Anxiety: Anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, can also manifest or worsen during pregnancy. Symptoms may include excessive worry, restlessness, irritability, and physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat or sweating.
  3. Prenatal or antenatal depression: This refers to depression that specifically occurs during pregnancy. It is important to recognize and address prenatal depression as it can have negative effects on both the mother and the baby.
  4. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs): This is a group of disorders that can occur during pregnancy or in the postpartum period. PMADs include conditions such as postpartum blues, postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD and postpartum psychosis.
  5. Perinatal PTSD: Some women may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder related to childbirth, particularly if they had a traumatic birth experience.

Asserting that pregnant women need to prioritise their mental health and seek support if needed, Dr Prasad Kulat recommended some tips for maintaining good mental health during pregnancy –

  1. Seek prenatal care: Regular prenatal visits can help monitor both physical and mental health during pregnancy.
  2. Stay connected: Maintain open communication with your partner, family, friends and healthcare providers about your feelings and concerns.
  3. Practice self-care: Get enough rest, exercise regularly (if approved by your healthcare provider), eat a healthy diet and engage in activities that help you relax and unwind.
  4. Consider therapy: Therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy, can help manage mental health issues during pregnancy.
  5. Medication: In some cases, medication may be necessary to manage severe mental health conditions during pregnancy. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider to weigh the risks and benefits of medication use during pregnancy.

Remember, seeking help for mental health issues during pregnancy is not a sign of weakness. It is a proactive step towards ensuring the health and well-being of both you and your baby.


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