As an expectant mother or a woman looking to get pregnant, you naturally want to do all that is possible to see that your baby has the best possible start in life, and the best shot at a happy life.
Since mental wellbeing is at least as important as physical wellbeing, find out what you can do to minimize chances of mental problems for your future child.
Taking care of your own mental health is a crucial first step towards ensuring good mental health for your baby. Research has shown that mothers who got treatment for depression found that anxiety symptoms in their children improved without separate treatment.
If you are on any kind of antidepressant, speak to your doctor about going off it for the pregnancy or whether the possible benefits of the medications require you to keep taking it, albeit a revised dosage.
Work on your own self esteem and lower stress
Stress and issues with self esteem are a significant predictor of mental disorders and problems. Get into therapy if required and make sure that you are mentally in a good place as you go through pregnancy. If you don’t have health insurance, look for resources such as a public mental health clinic, but try and get in good mental health for your pregnancy.
Know that certain mental disease risks rise with paternal age: for instance fathers over the age of 50 are more likely to have babies who are at higher risk of autism and schizophrenia. Drug and alcohol abuse by parents are also linked future mental disorders for babies.
Steer clear of environmental pollutants and infections
Infections such as chicken pox, certain household chemicals and medications during pregnancy are related to certain mental disorders in babies. So eliminate chemicals from your daily life as much as possible and be careful of infected individuals. Don’t take any medications in pregnancy without clearing them with your doctor.
Build up a support system
It can be family, friends or even online support that you can gain from as you go into and through your pregnancy. But make sure that you are around people and that you have social or community involvement that prevents isolation and feelings of being alone. Isolation and a lack of social interaction or withdrawal is another predictor of mental health problems. Social involvement can have the additional benefit of support during your pregnancy, when you do need it more than at other times.