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When thinking about pregnant women, we tend to so easily focus on these women’s physical health, and conveniently forget about mental health issues. We’re happy to joke about things like mood swings and “pregnancy brain,” but these aren’t exactly laughing matters.

Pregnant women run a real gauntlet of difficulties during the months running up to giving birth. Both their mental and physical health can really take some scary twists and turns. Therefore, we’ve prepared some thoughts on how women can maintain better mental health during pregnancy.

1. Talk to Professionals

It’s good to talk with doctors, midwives and other professionals who will be helping you at your local hospital, of course, but don’t forget to think about others who could be of assistance. For instance, look for a perinatal psychologist who can offer you greater mental health support in this difficult time.

It can feel strange reaching out to third-parties to talk about something so personal and family-related, but it’s often that more detached and impartial, professional sensibility that you need to bring clarity to areas where you feel anxious or uncertain. So much of poor mental health during pregnancy is linked to anxiety and stress related to concerns people feel forever unsure about. Professionals can help answer your questions.

2. Exercise

It’s natural to feel some worry that excessive exercise might do some harm to your unborn child. Indeed, there are some things that are probably not advisable, like scaling Mt. Everest, or bungee jumping from a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. However, if your regular medical professionals have said that it would be safe for you to, say, go jogging or visit the gym for some other workout routines, then you should feel comfortable with that.

Exercise helps bring your body back into balance, and releases endorphins which elevate your mood and help you escape the pregnancy blues. It’s not permanent, of course, but regular exercise should maintain the effect.

3. Indulge Yourself

If you are experiencing cravings for your favourite treats, or feel like going to see a movie, or having a nice dinner in a restaurant, then pregnancy shouldn’t stop you from doing these things. A little indulgence here and there won’t do you any physical harm, and can do your mental health the world of good.

4. Keep Friends and Family Support Close

The additional support network of friends and family is crucial during pregnancy. When the professionals aren’t around to help, you’ll need the assistance of those closest to you, and one way they can really make a contribution is in the mental health arena.

One thing that really triggers poor mental health is isolation. Even worse, it exacerbates existing mental health problems. Having friends and family around will always help elevate you from a poor mental state, even if there’s a part of you that feels you “would rather be by yourself.” We humans are social animals, after all.

5. Put the Books Down, Listen to Your Professionals

In our first tip, we mentioned the importance of talking to professionals and how it helps solve uncertainty. One of the sources of that uncertainty is a never-ending stream of books, articles, magazines and other sources that seemingly tell you all different things about what to do and what not to do when pregnant. It’s enough to send you into a state of confusion, which easily makes anxiety and mental health issues worse.

Besides getting definitive information from your doctor and other health professionals, it’s a good idea to attend antenatal classes where you can ask further questions and get good, reliable answers.

Hey, guess what, guys? Women vote too – and they may decide the outcome of this election

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