Every baby and every pregnancy is unique – some people can live their day-to-day life according to plan, while others have challenging pregnancies, experiencing discomfort and constant nausea.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 70% of pregnant women get morning sickness, which typically starts at six weeks and lasts until the second trimester. Other common discomforts include fatigue, heartburn and indigestion, swelling, constipation, headaches, and backaches. Those who experience severe discomfort may be put on bed rest by a provider.
These bodily changes can affect your mental health in various ways too. Some people fear that their discomfort is causing their baby harm or that it’s an indication of an unhealthy baby. This is typically not the case, however, if you are experiencing these symptoms, you should seek out your provider immediately.
Some studies even suggest that morning sickness is a discomfort that can actually help your baby. According to a 2016 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine from researchers at the National Institutes of Health, women who reported nausea or nausea with vomiting were between 50 percent and 75 percent less likely to miscarry than those who didn’t feel sick. Most discomfort during pregnancy means your body and hormones are doing their job to help you carry a healthy baby.
How a challenging pregnancy can impact your mental health
When your body is changing and you’re feeling new discomforts, you might also be worried about your own health. Some women report feeling worried that there’s something wrong or that they’ll never feel like their pre-pregnant self again. This is one reason why morning sickness can lead to depression. Even for those who see these experiences as temporary, nine months is too long to just suffer through. Speak to your provider for help treating your symptoms and try these ideas to treat nausea and vomiting.
Some can find it triggering to experience body changes or might feel worried about how their body will look postpartum. And those with a pre-existing eating disorder may be more susceptible to this type of worry or anxiety. If you’re finding these thoughts are intruding on your daily life or causing you to eat restrictively, it’s time to seek support from a therapist.
Ahead, you can learn about how to cope with a challenging pregnancy and keep your mental health in check.
Speak to your doctor or a health professional about what to expect when you’re expecting (there’s a reason why there’s a book with that title!). Understanding the ins and outs of your body and what’s considered expected and not expected can help you determine when something is discomfort or needs medical attention.
Allow yourself to kick your feet up
If you’re not feeling well, allow yourself to take the day off. Don’t push yourself to do everything on your to-do list. Remind yourself that you’re growing a human in your body and need to take care of yourself. If you can, find a support system to take care of any tasks or chores that you can’t get done.
Speak to a therapist
If your discomfort is getting in the way of your happiness or making you not feel like yourself, speak to a therapist who can help you overcome your concerns and find tactical solutions.
Challenging pregnancies can lead expecting parents to feel isolated and alone in their struggle. Someone who is there to guide you and support you can go a long way.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
- “Morning Sickness with Pregnancy: Causes, Treatment & Prevention.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16566-morning-sickness-nausea-and-vomiting-of-pregnancy.
- LaFrance, Adrienne. “Brutal for Mom, Good for Baby.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 26 Sept. 2016, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/09/the-protective-power-of-morning-sickness/501551/.
- Gray, Dan. “Severe Morning Sickness during Pregnancy Linked to Depression.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 27 Oct. 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health-news/severe-morning-sickness-during-pregnancy-linked-to-depression-what-you-can-do.
- Ward, Veronica Bridget. “Eating Disorders in Pregnancy.” BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), BMJ Publishing Group Ltd., 12 Jan. 2008, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2190274/.