The Pregnancy Journey: Where your mental health during pregnancy is just as important as your physical health!

Mental Health During Pregnancy

The Pregnancy Journey: Where your mental health during pregnancy is just as important as your physical health!

“Oh, you’re pregnant! Congratulations!”; “Please eat lots of fruits and veggies, maintain a healthy diet, okay?”; “Now you have to take extra care of yourself because it’s not just you now, your baby is also growing within you!”. Familiar with these lines? I’m pretty sure most of us are. 

When you announce that you and your partner are set to become parents, there’s a plethora of responses and a sprinkle of unsolicited advice too, isn’t there? A lot of the advice and suggestions focus mainly on the physical health of the birthing parent, and not on the mental health. Why is that we wonder? Most people do believe that if we take care of our physical health i.e., eat well and rest well, that’s all that matters. But that’s not it. Your mental health during pregnancy is JUST as important if not more. At AtEase, we believe that pregnancy is the most beautiful, important and life changing milestone in our lives and mental health during pregnancy should be given importance. 

Going through a pregnancy, the birthing parent goes through a lot of changes and growth; both emotionally and physically. What kind of mental health changes does a birthing parent go through? 

For a start, there are many emotions and feelings involved. Along with the positive ones, there is nervousness, worry, anticipation and anxiety. We have so many questions, and we feel unprepared in spite of reading all the books and getting all the prep done. And honestly, that is okay! 

But mood swings during pregnancy are normal, aren’t they? They are. Yet, there is indeed a fine line between when it is ‘just’ a mood swing and when it is a lot more than that, something deeper and unresolved. 

Here are some signs to identify when the mood swings can possibly worsen up and you potentially require additional support to deal with them during your pregnancy:

  • When you feel VERY overwhelmed with your emotions and it becomes difficult to find balance.
  • Feeling constantly worried and anxious, especially when it comes to you and your baby’s health. Anxiety can worsen your mental health in no time.
  • When you lose interest in things you used to enjoy taking part in earlier, and become more withdrawn from other people.
  • When you notice that either you want to sleep more or want to avoid sleeping at all.
  • When you are unable to communicate how you are feeling to your partner or any of your loved ones
  • When your appetite changes abruptly
  • When you find yourself comparing your pregnancy journey with others’ journey and constantly feel that you are not doing enough.

If you as a birthing parent have been going through any of these changes lately, it can be daunting; but it doesn’t have to be. Reach out to your loved ones, your doctors and even to mental health therapists. They can help you discover and define coping strategies for you during this time.

Further, your mental health during pregnancy correlates with your baby’s health as well. Birthing individuals who experience symptoms of depression such as loss of interest, experiencing worry or sadness during pregnancy may struggle with managing their symptoms. These symptoms may lead to neglectful behaviours which can have an impact on your baby. It may even lead them to developing complications as they grow up post birth. Research has also shown that babies of the birthing parents who had symptoms of depression had lower birth weights.

A study found that babies of birthing parents who were more anxious had an increased heart rate while in the womb. Another research indicated that antenatal and postnatal psychological distress is high all over the world; particularly in developing countries.

You may now slowly be realizing how important it is to take care of your mental health during pregnancy as well. Let’s further try to understand how beneficial it can be to inculcate that awareness and ensure you have a less stressful pregnancy. When you are more mindful of your mental health going awry, you notice what is triggering this change, you are more aware of what is contributing to a particular feeling or emotion. Understanding this further through an example, let’s say that your pregnancy journey is ongoing and you have been reacting i.e., getting irritable or feeling frustrated very often. If you are not in tune with your feelings and emotions, you might continue down on this path without realizing what is causing these emotions to occur so frequently. But, if you try to understand yourself and your mental health a little more mindfully, you will be more understanding of what triggered this particular emotion or feeling and take steps towards coping with it in a better way rather than reacting often.

There are different ways through which you can develop better mental health during pregnancy so that this journey is as smooth-sailing for you as possible. Mindfulness for one, can be a beginning. Mindfulness is when you pay attention more intuitively to your body and mind as well as what is happening around you. A couple of ways through which you can start including mindfulness in your life, especially in your journey in pregnancy are:

  • Meditation: Nope, we are not asking you to shut your thoughts out. This, unfortunately, is a popular myth about meditation that when we sit down to meditate, we are suppose to avoid our thoughts and dismiss them. That is certainly NOT the case. Instead, meditation is about allowing your thoughts to come to you; but also allowing them to pass rather than letting them stay. Let’s try an example with this: Let’s imagine this oft-lived scenario of uninvited guests at your place. You can’t ask them to leave, but you badly want to, right? With meditation, treat your not so helpful thoughts like you would want to with the uninvited guests; the difference being meditation encourages you to be gentle with ALL of your thoughts. While meditating, acknowledge yet ask your unhelpful thoughts to leave because they are not meant to stay on your mind. So, the next time your mind wanders off to worries such as, “Will I be a good parent?” “Will I mess things up with my baby?” “What if I am not able to feel attached to my baby post birth?”; acknowledge that having these thoughts is a natural tendency, but allowing them to stay is not helpful for you either. Meditation also takes away a lot of stress and anxiety and helps manage depressive disorders you might be experiencing during and after pregnancy.


  • Journaling: Journaling, in simple terms, is being honest with yourself through the medium of writing. And the best part? It doesn’t have a rigid structure to follow! Having said that, if you would like some ideas as to how to get started with journaling, fret not! There are plenty of resources which can help you begin. For example, especially if you would like to focus on your pregnancy journey through the process of journaling; here are some prompts which can help:
  1. “How am I coping with this journey so far?”
  2. “Is there something I would like myself or my loved ones to do to make me feel more supported?”
  3. “How have I been feeling lately?”
  4. “What would I like to say to my unborn child as it grows within me?”
  5. “Has there been any physical or emotional discomfort lately which I would want to openly vent about here?”

             Journaling can become a birthing parent’s safe space wherein there is not a single ounce of judgement or unsolicited advice, it’s all you and your true feelings and emotions about your journey.

  • Breathe: “Breathe, just breathe!” We do understand this can be a little annoying to hear when you hear it 100 times a day, but really, let’s also try to understand what’s the purpose behind suggesting breathing as a way to feel better emotionally. When you pay attention to how you breathe, you are creating mindfulness for yourself to not focus on anything but how you breathe, in the particular moment. So, try this right now, and close your eyes too if that helps. Notice how you breathe, is it a slow-paced breath or a fast paced one? Is your heartbeat calmer or rapid? When you take a pause in your day, from your routine and your thoughts to focus on your breathing, you are creating space for yourself and this helps you feel calmer as well. Especially during the process of childbirth, if you have a better understanding of your breathing pattern, that can be an incredible help in how you deal with the entire process without feeling extremely hassled, anxious and depressed.


  • Self-Talk: How does self-talk really help, especially during pregnancy you may wonder? Here’s how. Have you noticed that ever since your pregnancy journey started, though there has been positive reception from others around you as well as by yourself, your mind is still filled with doubts and negative statements about this whole journey and the process of childbirth as well? “How will you handle this?”, “It’s not as easy as it looks or seems okay!”, “What if I am the worst parent ever?”, “It’s a lot of responsibility, are you sure you are prepared for it?”, etc. Though these worries are valid, we end up predicting a worst-case scenario and start to overthink that and create more panic for ourselves and the baby as well. So, rather than experiencing this, how about changing the tone we as expectant parents use with ourselves? By being a bit gentler with ourselves and acknowledging that though we may not have it all figured out, it doesn’t mean that we will never figure things out and be a better parent. A step further leading to this acknowledgement is positive self-talk, wherein we appreciate ourselves more for every step we are taking to take care of our mental and physical health for us and our baby, for genuinely giving the post-childbirth process a thought and preparing ourselves for the journey ahead as well, for pulling through on some difficult days because; let’s face it, pregnancy can be challenging on some days, especially for the birthing parent. Positive self-talk helps control panic disorders during pregnancy and can include statements like:
  1. “Hey, it’s not been easy but you are doing your best to keep up and be healthy!”
  2. “Get a few more steps done, you can do this!”
  3. “You are full of strength and resilience, still it’s okay to acknowledge how tough it is on some days.”
  4. “Let’s eat your favourite food today!”
  5. “You will create your own parenting journey, you got this!”


Pregnancy may not be an easy journey, but it can be an interesting and less daunting one at that, if you choose to make it so. So, birthing parents, make a promise to yourself that you will try to make your journey in pregnancy better by focusing on your mental health as well as physical health! We at AtEase are here to help you sail through this phase of your lives. Should you need any assistance, please do reach out to us at


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