Mental Health and Well-being Before Pregnancy and Parenthood
It is important to take care of yourself throughout your life. This is especially true when you are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant, or have a new baby.1 How you feel mentally affects your whole body. A good state of mental health will help you cope with the normal stresses of life.
Many of us experience some stress or anxiety preparing for pregnancy and getting ready to have a baby. However, if you have more serious concerns about your mental health or have been diagnosed with a mental health condition such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, anxiety, or have experienced postpartum psychosis in a previous pregnancy, you may need a higher level of support to help you plan your care during pregnancy and following the birth of your baby. Talking to your healthcare provider before you become pregnant can help to ease your worries about the effect of your mental health, or any medications you are taking, on your baby.2
Build a support network before you get pregnant.
Both partners need to take care of their mental health and well-being. Here are some tips for taking care of your mental health and well-being:
Practice Healthy Eating Practice Healthy Eating to help provide the energy your mind and body need to properly function.
Include physical activity into your daily routine The benefits of exercise for reducing stress are well documented. It doesn't have to be anything too complicated: a brisk walk, a leisurely swim, or exercising in your living room can make a big difference.
Get a good night's sleep Get a good night's sleep to help your mind and body function at its best. Turn off screens at least one hour before bed. Set a routine bedtime that allows you to get enough restful sleep.
Spend time in nature Research has shown that natural scenery can help to reduce stress.
Build a support network Build a support network of family, friends, neighbours, co-workers and others that you can talk to when you are stressed and need support.
Take time to relax and laugh. Learning what relaxation techniques work for you and using those techniques will help you cope with stress.
See your health care provider regularly. Talk to your health care provider about your physical and mental health concerns.
Seek help and treatment if you feel mentally, emotionally or physically unwell.3
There are signs when it is important to reach out for help. Fathers or partners may experience symptoms too. You may:
Not feel yourself
Be sad and tearful.
Feel exhausted but unable to sleep.
Have changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
Feel overwhelmed and unable to concentrate.
Have no interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy.
Feel hopeless or frustrated.
Feel restless, irritable, or angry.
Feel incredibly full of energy.
Feel guilty and ashamed
Have repeated scary thoughts
Have thoughts about harming yourself or someone else.4
If you or your partner are experiencing these symtoms talk to your health care provider or call one of the FREE mental health supports available in our community.
A confidential 24/7 crisis and support line for people and families living with mental health or addictions concerns in Elgin, Oxford, Middlesex and London. Call it in crisis, or when you need a quick connection to services.
Reach highly trained volunteers who offer confidential supportive listening and community resource information. Call when you are anxious, depressed, lonely, overwhelmed or just need to talk something through with someone, you will find a supportive and caring person at our end of the line. If a caller is under 16, we suggest calling the Kids Help Phone.
Immediate 24/7 help for those experiencing serious mental health or addictions problems, including depression, anxiety, psychosis, risk of self-harm or harm to others, symptoms of substance use withdrawal, etc.
Personal short term counseling (12 weeks). Flexible hours. Clients pay what they can afford and some services are subsidized (i.e., no fee for Ontario Work clients). Counselling sessions can be conducted in any language (translators available). Spanish and French counseling available on a one-to-one basis only.