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Why Mental Health Is Important During Pregnancy New times


Pregnancy comes with a mixture of feelings, and not all of them are good. There is always the case of worry, anxiety and coping with the great transition especially if it is the first pregnancy.

If left untreated, such feelings can adversely affect the mental health of the expectant mother and her general well-being.

For some, however, mental health issues could have existed even before the pregnancy, but in any case, medical experts recommend treating the problem as early as possible.

Working on mental well-being during pregnancy is very important. A lack of it has the potential to cause harm to both mother and baby.

Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr John Muganda explains that poor mental health can lead to several dangers, including complications during childbirth or causing high-risk pregnancy, depression and anxiety, among others.

“The changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy and the daily worries can take its toll on her and cause stress, but it’s completely normal. The problem arises when the woman feels depressed all the time or shows other different signs that could harm her or the baby. In many cases, doctors may choose a Caesarean section over a normal delivery in order to save a child’s life and deal with the mother’s problems later, ”he says.

Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and the like, during pregnancy can also lead to miscarriage, premature delivery (premature) and delivering underweight babies, he adds. .

Muganda further explains that it is important to deal with mental health issues during pregnancy, as mothers who are depressed, anxious, or have other mental well-being issues may not take care of themselves or may suffer. harm from using drugs and alcohol, but all this also harms the baby. .

“If a woman has a mental health problem, it is important to see a doctor. Thought it might be difficult, treatment should be sought before any complications. Sometimes poor mental well-being can affect a child’s character and behavior, but these cases are rare, ”he notes.

How to cope

Experts say infants as young as one month old can sense when their parent is depressed or angry and are affected by the parents’ mood and emotions. This is another reason why mental well-being is very important during pregnancy.

According to Uzziel Manirareba, a medical psychologist, several mental illnesses can affect pregnant women, but the most common include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – this can happen when a woman has had a traumatic childbirth or has suffered from abuse. There is also obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, and panic disorder, among others.

In such cases, counseling or therapy may be offered as a treatment.

“Early detection is the best protection. When mental wellness issues are recognized before it’s too late, they can be treated, ” he says.

“Talking to a therapist is a great way to manage stress, manage depression, and relieve anxiety during the childbearing years. Interacting with other mothers who know what you are going through can also help, ”he notes.

However, there are other things that can help a pregnant woman to maintain her sanity, such as doing activities like yoga, meditation, exercises. Many women can also find comfort in talking to a friend, a health care social worker.

Felix Dushimimana, a psychologist based in Kigali stresses that it is a concern for both parents to maintain mental well-being during the childbearing period.

“The support of a partner is important for the pregnant woman and the baby during this nine-month period. A mother who feels supported by her partner during and after pregnancy feels happier and less stressed, which improves her mental well-being and also reduces her worries. From my point of view, the baby also wants to feel the love and affection of his father, despite music or other physical activities, the father needs to put his partner at ease and avoid conflict », He notes.

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