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Mental Health Is Also A Struggle For Women Before Giving Birth

Pregnancy is characterized in one of two ways by mainstream media and society. First, is a glowing, beautiful mother, lovingly rubbing her belly, waxing poetic about the joys of pregnancy and the absolute titillation of waiting for baby to arrive. Second, is a wild haired, bizarre food craving, practically maniacal “frightening” version of a woman who is barely making it through her hormones, begging for the “thing” inside of her to be released. Quite the stark contrast and quite an unfair dichotomy for women to operate within. Thankfully, real life is not so black and white and women have plenty of grey area. Problematically, what these stereotypes skip out on is the very real and common presence of mental health disorders in pregnancy.

King’s College London had a new study published in British Journal of Psychiatry which found alarming information on how many women are experiencing mental health problems during pregnancy, according to U.S. News.

  • One in four pregnant women have mental health problems
  • Eleven percent of women have depression during pregnancy
  • Fifteen percent of women have anxiety during pregnancy
  • Two percent of women have eating disorders during pregnancy
  • Two percent of women have obsessive compulsive disorder during pregnancy
  • Under one percent of women have post-traumatic stress disorder during pregnancy
  • Less than one percent of women have bipolar disorder or other disorders during pregnancy

Who suffers mental illness during pregnancy?

Any woman can develop a mental health issue during pregnancy. Her hormones are rapidly changing, which can create extra mental stress. Women who have previously struggled with mental health are predisposed especially to difficulties during pregnancy. If a woman decides to stop taking her medication, for example, in consideration of the baby’s health, she puts herself more at risk.

Why is mental health care during pregnancy important?

When a woman becomes pregnant everything in her life change. Some women are more prone to extreme hormone changes than others, however, she is undergoing hormone changes and mental changes at well. A woman can no longer think of herself. Everything she does, inhales, eats, drinks, and prepares for has to do with her child. It isn’t just her child’s wellbeing. Women create life, not just babies. She creates a small person who will grow into a fully functioning human with, hopefully, a long and happy life ahead of them. The pressure is tremendous and can be too much. Mental health care during pregnancy is incredibly important so that women do not suffer or struggle while creating life. Women need to be supported in all areas of their health and wellbeing during pregnancy so that they avoid turning to harmful behaviors like drug or alcohol abuse in addition to other self-destructive behaviors.

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