Since writing the first website all those years ago, I no longer use the word ‘treatment’ for ways to access help when managing mental health in pregnancy. Not because ‘treatment’ doesn’t matter, but because I try not to medicalise the help that a person may need. Treatment suggests that a person needs to be ‘fixed’ when anxiety in pregnancy may be a normal response to the changes and circumstances a person finds themselves pregnant in. So I refer to the following as ‘options’ instead.
Recommended options for managing mental health during and after pregnancy are changing all the time. If you experienced depression or anxiety before your pregnancy, your doctor may have already talked with you about medications you were taking at the time and whether it’s safe to continue. If you’ve not taken medication before, your doctor may discuss this as an option, along with any known side effects.
There are also a number of drug-free interventions that are now being considered to help manage mental health, which are suitable in pregnancy and whilst breast feeding.
The National Institute for Clinical and Healthcare Excellence (NICE) recommends Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), but there are other types of talking therapy that can help, including peer support. Mindfulness is seen as a form of drug-free ‘medicine for modern times’, which incorporates techniques like focusing on the breath as a means to help you relax. It’s not right for everyone, especially if you’re also managing trauma from a previous birth, but for many people it can help manage the mind, and be useful during labour.
Exercise, such as aqua-aerobics or yoga, and some complimentary therapies can also ease tension, anxiety and depression. Your midwife will be able to talk you through which of these are safe in pregnancy and beyond.
Whatever options are being considered, you should be involved in these discussions at all times. If you’ve noticed people are talking about you rather than with you, encourage them to include you in their conversations and ask you what would help.
Please read the important information at the foot of this website before making decisions about your health and wellbeing.
© Delphi Ellis 2004 – updated 2020 (All rights reserved).