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Pregnancy is often regarded with excitement, but no matter how eagerly a child's birth is anticipated, stress and other forms of emotional distress are still likely to occur during the challenging period of pregnancy. Pregnancy issues may be mild or serious, but they can affect the health of the mother or child, put strain on a romantic partnership, and lead to life changes, both predicted and unpredictable.

When concerns that arise during pregnancy or after birth cause distress or otherwise affect one's psychological health

  • Challenges Associated with Pregnancy and Birth
  • Pregnancy and psychological health Concerns
  • Impact of Birth on Emotional Health
  • Therapy for Pregnancy and Birthing Concerns
  • Pregnancy Loss

Challenges associated with pregnancy and birth

Though pregnancy can be challenging for both parents, in many cases the pregnant woman experiences the greatest amount of strain.

Pregnancy can put strain on a partnership, especially when a pregnancy was unplanned and partners have different goals. When one partner desires children and the other does not, for example, differing views about the outcome of the pregnancy may affect
the relationship significantly.

Find out more about symptoms of depression.

Even when both partners wish to have a child, being unprepared for the child's arrival financially or in other ways may still be a cause for concern.

When a couple has unaddressed or unsolved relationship issues, their partnership may be further tested by the varied challenges of childrearing.

If one or both partners is ambivalent to the idea of Parenthood having a baby may have a negative impact on the relationship, especially when other strains or stressors are present. Discussing any issues or parenting disagreements before pregnancy or before the child arrives may help a couple to become stronger, both as partners and as parents.

The physical challenges that often accompany pregnancy can also be difficult for many women to cope with. Morning sickness, aches and pains, fatigue, insomnia, and indigestion are just a few of the concerns that a pregnant woman may face. Women who contract illnesses while pregnant can be more severely affected by symptoms and may have a greater risk of complications, the most severe of which are birth defects or fetal death.

Pregnancy and psychological health concerns

While pregnancy often elicits many positive emotions, it can also cause a woman to experience negative thoughts and feelings. During pregnancy, past family issues, insecurities, relationship difficulties, and financial issues can become real and immediate concerns Women who experienced depression or anxiety before becoming pregnant may be more likely to experience psychological health concerns during pregnancy. When psychological health conditions do occur during pregnancy or postpartum, a woman's doctor will generally be able to provide referrals to psychological health professionals as well as immediate health care and support.
A therapist's help and support can help each woman find the right option for her. Some mothers who have psychological health concerns may become anxious when considering the possibility of passing their illness on to their child, but information and resources obtained from a health care professional may be helpful at addressing their concerns.
Societal expectations of pregnant women and new mothers may lead many women to experience anxiety or stress. Well-meaning individuals—family, friends, or even strangers—may criticize the practices, diet, and weight gain (or lack thereof) of pregnant women and may often offer unsolicited opinions or advice. Some women may experience irritation,anger or frustration as a result, but others may come to doubt their own ability to be good mothers. Soon-to-be parents may turn to parenting books or other sources of advice and become overwhelmed by conflicting opinions on the best or safest options for delivery.

Impact of birth on emotional health

It can sometimes be difficult for parents, especially new parents, to become accustomed after the birth of a child. A difficult birth can leave both parents emotionally and physically fatigued, and it can be difficult and stressful for parents to adapt to new roles and responsibilities. Some partners of women who have just given birth may wish to offer support but provide either too little or too much, thus straining a partnership that may already be challenged by the new baby. Both the mother and her partner may experience fatigue or have trouble sleeping, due to the demands of a newborn, and this lack of sleep may lead to a lowered immune system, increased irritability, and stress. While it is often possible for a couple to communicate their issues and work through them together without outside help, often professional support is beneficial to this process.

Some women who have just given birth may find it difficult to accept that certain aspects of pregnancy and delivery did not happen as expected. A mother who carefully designed a birthing plan but was unable to use it due to medical complications may experience regret that the birth did not go the way it was planned. Women who have a difficult recovery may feel frustrated by their inability to do things for themselves or find it difficult to cope with pain and fatigue. Some women who are unable to breastfeed may experience feelings of failure or frustration and become stressed or experience symptoms of depression as a result.
When a child cannot be carried to term, is stillborn, or is discovered to have a fatal or life-threatening birth defect, this can cause significant grief that, if untreated, may lead to psychological health concerns such as depression. Telling family and friends about the death of an infant instead of announcing the birth may be an exceedingly difficult task that can have a lasting impact on parents, especially the woman who carried the child. Therapy can help address and treat feelings of grief.

Therapy for pregnancy and birthing concerns

Therapy can help expectant mothers, women who are facing postpartum concerns, and the partners of these women to address the various issues that pregnancy and childbirth are likely to cause. Women who experienced psychological health issues before pregnancy may fear that the added challenge of motherhood will exacerbate their conditions or cause further concerns to develop, but the support of a therapist or counselor throughout their pregnancy may help them feel more at ease. Women who experience postpartum depression or psychosis may find that that therapeutic treatment, combined with medication when necessary, has a beneficial effect.

The type of therapy used will generally vary based on the concerns a woman is experiencing. Some women find the stress of motherhood and new responsibilities to be difficult to handle, and voicing their concerns in a support group to others in the same situation may be helpful to them. Those experiencing depression or anxiety may seek individual therapy. Coupels Therapy can also be helpful when a couple finds that a new baby has placed added challenges and stresses on their relationship. In therapy, couples can voice concerns or areas of disagreement and resolve any issues in their partnership.

Parents or single mothers who lack assistance and support may also be able to seek resources and find help developing a support network in therapy. In any case, a therapist will be able to offer resources and help for those experiencing difficulty.
Grief counseling, typically recommended after the loss of a child, can help parents come to terms with their loss, cope with their grief, and prepare to try again, should they wish to do so.

Pregnancy loss

Stillbirth and miscarriage are two pregnancy complications that lead to fetal death. Miscarriage is pregnancy loss occurring within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, while a stillbirth occurs after 20 weeks..

Pregnancy loss can lead to complex emotions, such as grief, shame, guilt, and isolation. Some of those who have experienced pregnancy loss believe they could have prevented it, but this is not often the case. Because pregnancy is not yet apparent in many of those who have a miscarriage, many feel isolated following this loss. Experts say acknowledging the pain and loss, and having it acknowledged by others, can help reduce these feelings and allow the processes of grieving and healing to take place.

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