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Managing your mental health, including feelings of anxiety and depression, is important during any time in your life. Without proper care, you could have a hard time sleeping, getting through the day, communicating with others and feeling like yourself.

During your pregnancy, when you may already feel a wide range of emotions, it’s especially important to identify feelings of anxiety and depression and treat them.

What’s normal and what’s not?
It’s normal to have some anxiety during your pregnancy. After all, major life changes are on the way. You might worry about how you’ll raise your child and manage finances, or about how the relationships with your partner and other family members will change.

It’s also normal to feel depressed sometimes. Your hormone levels change drastically during pregnancy, which can alter your brain chemistry and make you worry or feel sad. This type of depression is called antepartum depression. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that 14 to 23 percent of women experience it during pregnancy.

When depression and anxiety last for more than two weeks or start interfering with daily life, Geisinger can help you manage these changes and feel better.

Talk to your provider if you:

  • Have lost interest in activities that used to make you happy
  • Are having trouble focusing during work
  • Have low energy or fatigue
  • Feel hopeless or irritable
  • Can’t sleep, or feel that you’re sleeping too much
  • Are worrying excessively

Certain people are at a higher risk than others. You might be more likely to experience anxiety or depression during pregnancy if:

  • You were previously diagnosed with anxiety or depression
  • You experienced it during a previous pregnancy
  • You have experienced fertility issues or a failed pregnancy
  • You have experienced a pregnancy with complications
  • Home or work is stressful

How depression and anxiety are treated
Anxiety and depression can be treated and managed in a number of ways during pregnancy. At Geisinger, your provider can refer you to a Women’s Health behavioral health psychologist who can help you manage your anxiety or depression through brief, targeted intervention visits. These visits are different than traditional counseling because they’re focused around specific symptoms that have appeared during pregnancy.

During these targeted sessions, a behavioral health psychologist will offer you tools to help you manage your depression or anxiety. If you feel you need more help, a behavioral health psychologist can also refer you to the appropriate mental health provider.

In addition to working closely with your providers on your mental health, there are some other things you can do to manage depression and anxiety.

Eat a healthy diet. Eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean protein will not only support the growth of your baby, but it can also improve how you feel.

Get plenty of exercise. If you are dealing with stress or just not feeling like yourself, try taking a brisk walk or visiting your gym.

Get more sleep. Though it may be increasingly difficult as your body changes, getting enough sleep each night can reduce tension and help you stay focused during the day. If you’ve tried every position possible and a few extra pillows and you’re still having trouble sleeping, talk to your provider.

Lean on your support system. Being pregnant is a huge life change, and feeling anxious is common. Lean on friends and family who have been in your shoes. Talking to a loved one might help you feel at ease.

Relax. If you’re feeling tense or just worn out from your day, dedicate some time to you. Whether it’s reading for a few minutes, taking part in yoga or meditating, these activities can help you feel calm.

Managing your mental health during pregnancy is essential to ensuring you have a healthy pregnancy. Geisinger providers are here to help you feel more like yourself.

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