It's no secret that pregnancy is a particularly trying time for anyone. As your body floods with hormones, you are likely to feel very different within yourself, and your emotions will be very unpredictable. And that's the potential stresses that come with this situation; there are financial issues, physical health issues as well as unexpected issues with your baby.

Health on Female First

Health on Female First

Thus, it's important that you do not neglect to take care of your mental health during this time, for the sake of your unborn child. Here are six ways you can reduce that mental strain:

1. Weigh up medication options

Just because you're pregnant or trying to conceive does not mean that you have to refuse anti-depressants. If you're already taking them, it's worth speaking to your doctor about the potential risks of that medication, and do your own research as well. There are certain medications that are a lot less likely to affect your baby than others and if you and your doctor decide that the risks to your health if you don't take medication are greater than the risks to the baby's health if you do, don't let yourself feel guilty about taking it. The less stress you are under, the better chance your baby has.

2. Accept professional help if you need it

If you are offered counselling and you think it may help you, there are specialist services for pregnant women in most regions and you are also likely to be fast-tracked to other services. The thought of 6-month waiting lists can be off-putting for a lot of people when it comes to accessing NHS mental health care, but you should be highly prioritised if you're pregnant.

3. Accept non-professional help if you need it

You might not want to be treated like an invalid, but getting things done can be hard work when you're pregnant. If you're lucky enough to have people around you offering to take you to your appointments, help with house-work or look after your children, don't be so quick to refuse their generosity out of pride or politeness. Similarly, never be afraid to ask for help either.

4. Take it easy

It's very important that you do not over-exert yourself during pregnancy. Over-exertion has a different meaning for everybody; if you are very sporty, it's worth discussing your activities with your doctor. If physical activity is a struggle for you generally, don't push yourself to do more than you are comfortable with. Take time off from work if you have to and don't fill your calendar with social engagements. Doing too much can be stressful, and that stress affects blood pressure. High blood pressure can affect your baby's growth.

5. Stay active

It may seem like the opposite advice, but not moving from your bed or the couch all day isn't good for you either. Try and take short, regular walks if you can, and if you already have a solid work-out regime, maybe bring the intensity down but don't put it on hold altogether unless you are physically struggling. Exercise is good for your physical and mental health, and your body's happiness is that of your baby's.

6. Put yourself first

Treat yourself as you would treat your baby. Make sure your needs are met and don't give up too much of your time and energy trying to help other people. If you are someone who people rely on for help and advice all the time, steer them towards others who may be able to help and don't let somebody else's problems become your own. Pregnancy is stressful enough as it is without carrying the burdens of others.

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