Emotional Wellbeing



Ainsley Lawrence

When and How to Seek Therapy During Pregnancy

When and How to Seek Therapy During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a transformative time in a woman’s life that is both joyous and worrisome throughout. With so many large changes occurring and many responsibilities to attend to before birth, it is common for many women to feel fiercely overwhelmed and mentally worn out. 

Therapy is a useful resource for pregnant people who are looking for assistance with the transition to motherhood. We’ll explore when and how pregnant people should find mental health assistance and therapy during pregnancy, along with some tips for enhancing your emotional and mental health while pregnant.

Signs You Should Seek Therapy

Pregnancy can be a difficult or confusing experience for many women, and the stress of preparing for a new baby and a lifestyle change can be overwhelming. Anxiety is a prevalent emotional response amongst pregnant women and can be extremely limiting. 

Anxiety disorders occur for nearly one in five women during pregnancy, interfering with daily activities such as driving, working, or even making a quick trip to the grocery store. If you’ve found it difficult to attend to your normal duties without experiencing symptoms of anxiety, such as shortness of breath, racing thoughts, dizziness, or sudden fatigue, therapy can be beneficial for you.

Another sign that you should seek therapy is if you are struggling with alcohol or drug dependency. For many women, immediately cutting out drugs or alcohol upon finding out they are pregnant can be extremely difficult. Therapy can give you the guidance and resources you need to achieve sobriety and continue a substance-free pregnancy. 

Therapy can also be helpful for those who have experienced a pregnancy-related loss in the past. It is common to feel stress or excessive worry if you’ve suffered from loss in the past, especially if it is recent. Therapy can help you address this trauma and concern, offering you the tools you need to cope with loss and heal. 

Stress has a huge impact on fertility and pregnancy – feelings of stress trigger the release of cortisol, which can elevate your blood pressure and weaken the immune system. Different therapy techniques employ useful stress-relief techniques such as meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation. With guidance, you can use these techniques to your advantage for a healthy pregnancy.

Ways to Receive Mental Health Assistance

If you relate to any of the signs listed above, or if you’re struggling with other concerns during your pregnancy such as relationship issues or depression, there are multiple ways to receive the mental health assistance you need. One of the best things you can do is to contact the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline. This resource is a free 24/7 hotline for pregnant individuals and those who have already given birth. You’ll be directed to the professional support you need to overcome depression and anxiety, along with valuable resources to escape dangerous situations such as homelessness or domestic violence.

You can also reach out to your OB/GYN and midwife, or connect with a doula to receive mental health support. Doulas are available during pregnancy and postpartum to care for the emotional needs of a mother and can direct you to helpful techniques, community resources, and therapists who have experience working with pregnant people.

Motherhood support groups can also be an amazing resource for those who are looking for mental health assistance during pregnancy. These groups can meet virtually or in person and are sometimes led by qualified therapists as well. If you’re feeling anxious about attending individual therapy sessions, group therapy sessions can help you ease into the process and prevent any feelings of abnormality or isolation.

Though receiving the right information and direction is a crucial part of obtaining mental health assistance, trusting your intuition can be just as impactful. Your intuition is evolutionarily designed to keep you safe, and this feeling can be amplified during pregnancy. When choosing the right therapist or group for support while pregnant, trust your gut. Look out for intuitive signals like a sinking feeling or butterflies in your stomach when interacting this a group or individual therapist. If you have any immediate adverse physical responses like these, seek other assistance for your comfort and safety.

Supporting Your Mental Health During Pregnancy

There are a variety of things you can do independently to promote mental wellness while pregnant. Many pregnant women look to social media for inspiration and advice, but these platforms can also be a major source of anxiety or pressure as well. Often, you’ll see these specially curated images of women bouncing back physically from pregnancy in no time, or videos of mothers effortlessly attending to daily duties right after giving birth. 

It is important to remember that these images aren’t the norm for pregnant women and should not be treated as such. This content is edited, well-marketed, and designed to either convince you to purchase something or subscribe to a lifestyle. Be sure to remind yourself of this while engaging with content that is more realistic, healthy, and isn’t focused on getting you to purchase weight-loss supplements, beauty enhancements, or other physical adjustments.

Get a jumpstart on therapy by engaging in a wellness routine, such as hydrotherapy. Genuine physical wellness is a crucial part of maintaining optimal mental wellness. Choose a therapist who also has experience with using meditative or movement-related practices for mental healing and wellness preservation. Holistic health counselors will often employ somatic therapy in conjunction with psychotherapy for the most effective stress-relief results. Engage in fun physical practices like dance movement therapy for an emotional boost that also promotes a healthy relationship with your body.

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy is full of change, and it is important to ground yourself with people and resources that can provide you with the sufficient support you need to stay happy and healthy throughout. Speak to multiple therapists and explore your options before deciding what works best for you. Always remember to trust yourself at the end of the day and commit to techniques and wellness options that are designed to provide you with a long-term positive impact you can carry with you postpartum.

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