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Importance of Prenatal And Postnatal Mental Health Care

Pregnancy is a wonderful time in life for most to-be mothers, it brings with it the joy of becoming a parent, of experiencing changes in your body and along with it starts the challenge of good parenting. During this period, taking care of one’s physical health is given utmost importance by family members and doctors. However, a mother’s mental health care during pregnancy is often neglected which has a serious impact on both the child and the mother in the future. However, In India, the Mental health of mothers is often disregarded which increases the risk of development issues in the child.

In Japan, doctor’s stress special pregnancy care for pregnant women, giving importance to a safe and healthy maternal environment to reduce fetus complications as much as possible. Women monitor all aspects of their lives including work, travel and diet to ensure no harm is inflicted upon the fetus. Mothers even start developing a bond with the child by singing to, talking to and touching the womb.

Whereas in Israel, special attention is paid to the mothers physical and mental health, where stress is avoided and a wholesome diet and mental exercises are emphasized to improve the physical and mental health of both the mother and the child during pregnancy. Additionally, special pregnancy classes are given to the mother and father to prepare for the gestation period.

Below mentioned are common factors that can contribute to distress in women during pregnancy:

  • Changes in the body 
  • Unplanned or Unwanted Pregnancy 
  • Self-doubt related to parenting 
  • Missing out on work 
  • Unemployment
  • Changes in social life
  • Economic Problems 
  • Disturbing Environment at Home or Family Pressure 
  • Medications 

About 1 in 5 women experience mental health problems during or after pregnancy. It can happen to anyone depending on the environment and history of mental health issues. Read on to know more about the Psychological Disorders to look out for during and after pregnancy: 

Depression- Depression is a common mental health problem in pregnancy. According to a recent study, about 20% of pregnant women in India meet the diagnostic criteria for depression. 

Anxiety- Anxiety during pregnancy is often overlooked but is a common disorder that can flare up if proper care is not taken. Common symptoms of anxiety are experienced by women throughout pregnancy. 

If a woman has a history of mental health disorders the onset of pregnancy can make symptoms worse, this includes disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mood Disorders, Schizophrenia, Eating Disorders, Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse etc. 

However, most women report mild symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. (Not to be mistaken for morning sickness). Hence, taking routine mental health diagnosis during and after pregnancy can help monitor any mood-related problems and detect any problems early on so that you can take prompt action. 

Are psychiatric medications safe during pregnancy?

When it comes to whether to take medications for mental disorders during pregnancy or not it is recommended to consult a psychiatrist who can guide you on how it will affect the baby and how it will affect you. However, under general circumstances, taking medications without guidance can pose serious health issues for the child and is not recommended. 

Mental Health Care in pregnancy is just as important as physical health care therefore do not shy away from seeking perinatal mental health care if required. Parenting starts way before the child is born, hence if your mind is healthy the same will be carried on to your child. A good way to go about it is to provide your child with nutritious food, healthy thoughts and a caring environment. Remember, a child who feels safe and has its needs met will thrive without any disabilities.