Emotional struggles during pregnancy

MomsEveryday

There are a lot of physical changes that happen when you're expecting, most notably, your growing belly. But there are a number of emotional changes, too. How do you know what you can expect during pregnancy and what may be a sign that you need help?

Dr. Emily Barr Ruth explains that it’s very typical for women to have mild mood swings, to feel moodier than usual, to feel more sensitive, when they are pregnant. “They may also notice they are more forgetful, more distractable, less focused than usual, we call that mommy brain," said Dr. Barr Ruth.

While pregnancy is wonderful in many ways, it can also be very difficult. Dr. Barr Ruth says there are a number of factors that can impact your emotional well being like changes to your sleeping pattern, discomfort, hormone shifts, and anxiety about how a new baby will impact you, your partner and your career.

“Allowing a women to talk about and express the harder parts of it is very important," Dr. Barr Ruth said.

But how do you know if you or someone you love needs help? Dr. Barr Ruth says one in ten women will experience prenatal depression.

“If it's low mood that stays consistent that would be a sign,” Dr. Barr Ruth said. “We would see either weight loss or an inability to gain weight that's healthy for the baby, loss of appetite, you may even see some feelings of hopelessness or even thoughts of suicide."

And another 6% will experience prenatal anxiety, panic attacks or obsessive compulsive behavior.

"Any behaviors or symptoms that interfere with a woman's daily functioning, that she's not able to perform the way she used to at work, her relationships are impacted, or her care for herself is impacted, that's how you know the difference," Dr. Barr Ruth advised.

And the difference can be dangerous if left untreated, for both mom and baby.

"They are at greater risk for themselves having health issues, things like preeclampsia, and their babies having health issues as well, things like preterm birth, lower birth rate and other complications," Dr. Barr Ruth said.

The good news is these disorders are extremely treatable through psychotherapy, medication, and social support but they will not just go away on their own. So see your doctor to get help.