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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.

 

Table of Contents


Planning Ahead and Finding Support

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.

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Self Care

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

Warning Signs

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 anxious.
  • 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.

Community Supports:

Reach Out

  • 519-433-2023 or 1-866-933-2023, or web chat
  • 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.

The Support Line

  • 519-601-8055 or 1-844-360-8055
  • 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.

Health Connection

  • 519-663-5317, ext. 2280
  • Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays
  • Confidential telephone support with a Public Health Nurse from the Middlesex-London Health Unit

Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Centre

  • 519-434-9191
  • 648 Huron St., London
  • Walk in crisis assessment and support
  • 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.

Quick Access Mental Health Walk-in Clinic - Family Service Thames Valley

  • 519-433-0183
  • 125 Woodward Avenue, London Ontario, see website for day and time of walk-in
  • A weekly walk-in clinic for individuals, couples and families coping with mental health, emotional, or relationship concerns that could benefit from quick access to counselling.
  • No appointment necessary.

Adult Mental Health Care Program - London Health Sciences Centre

  • 519-685-8500
  • LHSC offers a wide range of mental health care programs, including the Perinatal Mental Health Clinic, to support adults and their families.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider for more information and referral

Daya Counselling Centre

  • 519-434-0077
  • 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.

Mental Health Helpline - ConnexOntario

  • 1-866-531-2600
  • Available 24/7 by telephone, email or web chat to listen, offer support and provide strategies to help you meet your goals and provide information about mental health services in your community.

LGBTQ+ Resources


Indigenous Resources


Multicultural Resources

 
Date of creation: November 10, 2017
Last modified on: January 26, 2018
 
 

References

11) Best Start. 2013. Pregnancy is Not Always What You Expect: Taking care of your mental health while pregnancy or planning a pregnancy. Retrieved from
https://www.beststart.org/resources/ppmd/TakeCareMentalHealth_EN_rev.pdf
2Omama. 2015. Mental Health. Retrieved from
http://www.omama.com/en/pre-pregnancy/mental-health.asp
3Best Start. 2017. Stress and Well-Being. Retrieved from
http://www.healthbeforepregnancy.ca/stress-and-well-being/
4Best Start. Prenatal Education. Key Messages for Ontario: Mental Health Retrieved from
http://www.ontarioprenataleducation.ca/mental-health/