What Many People Don’t Know About High Risk Pregnancies
When you’re told you have a high-risk pregnancy, it’s easy to feel anxious about your physical health, as well as the well-being of your baby. Most people don’t talk about high-risk pregnancies because they don’t want to elicit more fear or take away from the joy that a new baby can bring. Unfortunately, that leaves just as many people not fully understanding how these pregnancies can impact the women dealing with them.
Whether you’ve been told your pregnancy is high-risk or someone close to you is dealing with those risks right now, it’s important to know how it can impact mental health and well-being.
Dealing With the Unknown
The most significant source of anxiety in a high-risk pregnancy comes from the unknown. Every pregnancy is unique, and even if you’re considered high-risk, that doesn’t mean anything will necessarily happen to you or your child. However, the fear of the unknown can cause your thoughts to wander to the worst possible scenarios.
You might wonder if you’re doing things wrong or protecting yourself and your baby the way you should. You might also worry about the experience of giving birth and what you might have to go through to keep yourself and your child safe and healthy.
Anxiety feeds on our fear of the unknown. It can start to take control when you’re in a high-risk situation, especially because you don’t only have to worry about yourself but about your unborn child, too.
Struggling With Limitations
Often, high-risk pregnancies require changes in your daily habits. That might include limiting your physical activity to being on complete bed rest for weeks. While most women are happy to do whatever it takes to ensure their baby’s safety, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
In addition to those limitations causing anxiety, they are also often frustrating. Most expectant mothers are eager to plan for their child by having baby showers, getting a nursery ready, and enjoying a few last bits of alone time with their partner before the child is born.
Many women in high-risk situations don’t get those luxuries. It can lead to feelings of guilt or even feelings of missing out. Unfortunately, those are issues that can fuel depression. They may even make it more likely for a mother to experience PPD (Postpartum Depression).
What to Do If You’re in a High-Risk Pregnancy
The most important thing to do in a high-risk situation is to listen to your doctor. You might not enjoy things like bed rest or limiting your activities. However, it’s for the health and safety of you and your baby.
Second, find ways to practice self-care and cope with stress each day. If you’re not able to get out of bed, things like reading, journaling, and meditating are all great ways to de-stress and clear out anxiety.
It’s also important to surround yourself with support. Stay as social as you can with everyone from your partner to family and friends. Even if you can’t leave the house, consider inviting someone over a few times a week to chat and have lunch. Or, connect with them via video chat. It’s important to know that you’re not alone, especially when you’re confined to a bed all day.
If you’re really struggling with the mental health effects of your high-risk pregnancy, you’re not alone.
Feel free to contact me if you need someone to talk to about those concerns. Together, we can work through effective ways to cope with both the uncertainty of what’s to come and how to handle your anxiety in the meantime.
Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is also Certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Professional by Postpartum Support International. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum
periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.