People who are getting ready to try for a baby try lots of things to prepare for healthy pregnancies and healthy babies; jogging, yoga, healthy eating, listening to advice from relatives they usually wouldn’t exactly want to hear advice from. One area of life that can feel harder to prepare for a healthy pregnancy, though, is mental health.
What is mental health?
The term “mental health” can feel somewhat scary, especially for those who haven’t sought mental health care before, but basically, mental health is the way every person is able to deal with their feelings and thought patterns. Mental health can be impacted by many different things, but most of the factors that can have an impact on mental health fall into one of two categories: external stressors (including work stress, relationship tension, and trying to conceive) or changes in hormones or brain chemistry (including changes in physical health, menstrual cycles, and pregnancy).
How does mental health impact TTC?
- For one thing, mental health and physical health are linked; negative emotions can prompt physical reactions, which can eventually even lead to health conditions. For example, both high blood pressure and ulcers have been linked to stress. On a smaller scale, stress and other difficult emotional reactions can lead to poor appetite, poor sleep, and other incremental changes that can chip away at both physical and mental health.
- Trying to conceive is, itself, a stressful time of life, which means that any stress, difficult thought patterns, or relationship tensions that are already there can be boosted by the uncertainty of the TTC process, which offers a lot of small details to keep track of in the form of fertility tracking, but without much opportunity for a sense of control.
- The possibility of depression after pregnancy is becoming more and more well-known, but what’s less talked about is the very real possibility of depression during pregnancy. Depression during pregnancy can be dangerous for both mom and baby. And going into pregnancy with a strong mental health support system can help new moms feel more prepared to fight depression if it appears during or after pregnancy.
How can I take care of my mental health?
Medica members have coverage for mental health and substance abuse disorder services. You can contact Medica Behavioral Health to learn more at (800) 848-8327 (TTY: 711). The hours of operation are 8am – 5pm CT, Monday through Friday. Crisis services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.