The Importance of Managing Your Mental Health During and After Pregnancy

Maybe it’s something you’ve been dreaming of for your whole life. Or maybe it’s come as a breathtaking surprise.

You’re going to be a mom. And, suddenly, that’s pretty much all you can think about, all that matters. And, fortunately, there’s a ton of information out there to help you navigate your way through these unfamiliar waters.

Basically, anything you need to know about caring for your little bean, you can find in a book or even online. But once baby’s covered, what about momma? When you’re getting ready to be a new mom, it can be easy to put so much focus on the little one that you forget about yourself.

But that’s a mistake. Because you can’t take care of the rugrat if you don’t take care of their momma. And that means putting your physical and mental health at the top of your to-do list, both during pregnancy and after.

The Role of Diet

If you’re pregnant or you’ve just given birth, chances are that you’re spending a lot of time thinking about your diet. After all, you’re growing another human being. You want to make sure you’re both getting the nutrients you need to do a primo job of it.

But diet isn’t just about your and your baby’s physical health. What you eat is also going to have a profound impact on your mental health as well. A diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals is not only going to make you feel physically better and stronger, but it’s also going to reduce your risk of postpartum depression.

The reason is pretty simple, really: When you’re pregnant or you’ve just given birth, not only are you sleep deprived and physically drained, but you’re also awash in pregnancy hormones. And that means you are a prime target for depression, even before you give birth. 

Fueling your body with healthy foods, along with lots of good sleep, healthy exercise, and consistent emotional support, can help you regulate those ricocheting hormones and feel healthier and happier throughout your pregnancy.

Of course, you’re not going to be able to chow down on those nutritious foods if your teeth and gums aren’t in good shape. And, believe it or not, that’s a pregnancy risk that not many people talk about. Pregnancy gingivitis is a real and not uncommon thing. 

It can cause pain and difficulty eating. It can even lead to tooth loss and potentially dangerous infections, including infection in the lining of the heart. When you’re in pain and unable to eat properly, that’s not only going to affect you physically, it’s also going to affect you mentally.

Taking care of your teeth, and safeguarding against pregnancy-related oral health challenges, isn’t just about protecting your body. It’s also about protecting your mind and spirit.

Good Night, Sleep Tight

It’s almost a cliche to say that new parents are sleep deprived, but, in fact, sleep issues can crop up even before the baby is born. Late pregnancy, after all, is not the most comfortable state in the world, not to mention the hormonal fluctuations.

So you may already be running on a sleep deficit before your little one even makes her grand debut. And sleep deprivation can have an extremely detrimental impact on your mental health.

But it’s not just your body’s physical changes that might be keeping you up at night. You also might be worrying, consciously or unconsciously, about all the responsibilities that are coming your way. 

This is especially true if you are preparing to be a single parent, and you’re faced not only with the burden of raising a good human person by yourself, but you’re also going to have to keep that little person clothed, fed, and housed. 

So, as you take care of your physical health, it’s also going to be important to take care of your financial health. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help single parents bear the costs of raising a child, including housing and food assistance. 

Addressing the financial worries that are keeping you up at night can help you get the rest your body and mind need so that you can be the happy and focused momma your baby deserves.

The Takeaway

To be sure, pregnancy is probably the most momentous time in your life. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the happiest. You’re flooded with hormones. And your body, relationships, and your whole world are changing. But there are things you can do to hold on to your peace and joy and to truly experience the wonders of this time when you are creating the being who will teach you a kind of love you never thought possible. But to be ready, you have to take care of momma, from eating right and sleeping well to getting your financial house in order.

Frankie Wallace
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