During and After Pregnancy
- Adding the responsibility of creating a life on top of other responsibilities can have an effect on one’s mental health. Especially if this is a first, unplanned or there are pre-existing conditions of depression and anxiety. Ignoring mental health might lead to poor health decisions that can affect the baby’s development. The first years of a baby’s life is fundamental for future mental and social development. The first few weeks after birth can also be overwhelming for you and the baby. Acknowledging mental health can help bond with your baby better.
Tips to maintain perinatal mental health
- Pregnancy and the first few weeks after birth can be overwhelming for you and the baby. Acknowledging your mental health can help in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Below are some tips to consider during and after pregnancy:
- Address and treat mental health concerns during pregnancy can lead to better health decisions like eating well, exercising, getting adequate sleep and taking prenatal vitamins which are important for fetal development.
- Prioritize yourself when you can. Pregnancy can be overwhelming; however, it can be beneficial to make some time for yourself
- Ask for help when needed. Pregnancy can take a toll on your body and mental health, asking for help can ease your workload.
- Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating healthy and being regularly active.
- Spend time with loved ones can help in feeling overwhelmed and can be the best support system for this life-changing moment.
Risk Factors that Affect Mental Health
- Mental health can affect anyone regardless of race, income, age, culture or education. It is important that mothers don’t feel at fault, there are many uncontrollable factors that play into poor mental health during and after pregnancy that includes:
- Past mental disorders
- Recent and/or ongoing stressful events
- Food/housing insecurity
- Complications during birth/pregnancy
- Inadequate social support
- Poor marital relationship
- Domestic partner violence/abuse
- Childcare stress
- Lower socioeconomic status
- Substance abuse
- Visit the Illinois Department of Human Services for services to help with factors that might be affecting your mental health. Services include:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- And more
- Visit the Postpartum Support International website to learn more about different perinatal mood disorders. There you will find resources and consultations for pregnant mothers.