You just got the great news that you and your partner are expecting, and you’re feeling a roller-coaster of emotions: joy, excitement, overwhelmed, stress, and more. During your pregnancy it’s more important than ever to take care of your mental health because you need to be in the best place to take care of your little one, even as they are growing inside you. Here are the top ways to make yourself a priority and take care of your mental health during your pregnancy.
1. Talk with someone.
This might seem like an obvious one, but you might be the type of person to keep it all inside and try to do it all. Believe it or not, it’s actually natural to feel stressed and anxious during a pregnancy because you’re going through such a big change. Talk about it with your partner, your close friends or family members. You might find that it takes a huge weight off your shoulders just sharing your anxieties.
You can also join an online or in person support group, there are many of those available so you can pick one that suits your personality and needs. These groups can be an excellent place to get information and advice and feel reassured.
2. Eat healthy and stay active.
When you’re pregnant, you’re probably still working a full-time job. You may already have children or you’re doing work on your house. Regardless of your situation, you can never make the mistake of being too busy to eat healthy and always turning to take out food. Food is fuel for your baby so you want to choose all the best and most nutritious foods.
You also want to stay active as much as possible. Some suggestions from Heather Morris, a health writer at Academized and Paper Fellows, are to “go for a walk at the end of the day or join a specialized yoga class. You might meet some other great moms and it’s a nice way to keep your body moving. Another popular option for expectant mothers is swimming – look for a session near you.”
3. Practice mindfulness.
Start being more mindful every day, just by focusing on your breathing and relaxing. Slowing your breathing helps you slow down your thoughts and reduce anxiety. Train your mind to be more present and pay attention to your immediate surroundings. It can take some time to get used to it, but you will see an increased focus and relaxation after just a few weeks. If you need help, consider starting a gratitude journal – writing your thoughts down is a good exercise in mindfulness and being present.
4. Understand the process and share it with your partner.
Understanding how your body works and the changes that are happening go a long way in reassuring you of how normal and natural it all is. Read some good books on pregnancy and share the experience with your partner. As explains Martha Singer, a psychology blogger at Australian Help and State of Writing, “you partner should be learning about relaxation techniques and the process along with you. Look for a pre-natal class at your local maternity centre that you can both attend together.”
5. Stay positive.
It can be easier said than done, but the reality is that you can’t worry about the future for 9 whole months – it’s unhealthy and unsustainable. By remaining positive and preparing for the experience, you’ll find that pregnancy can be enjoyable. Positive affirmations are great mental exercises that all the top athletes go through before a big event. They help to build confidence and keep stress low. If you do have any worries, ask yourself if it’s something serious that you should look into or speak to your midwife about. You need to be able to figure out if your worry is something to take action about or refocus your attitude.
When you’re going through your pregnancy, consider if something or someone is making you feel more anxiety or more excited about the birth. If it’s contributing to your anxiety, you need to think about how to remove that aspect from your life, so you can be in the best possible mindset for this important chapter.
Ellie Coverdale, a spiritual and health writer at UK Writings and Essay roo, shares her knowledge about healthy, positive relationships and how to be more mindful. She is also a writer at Boom Essays, where she focuses on health and nutrition as well as yoga and meditation exercises.