Why is Maternal Mental Health Important?


Why is Maternal Mental Health Important?

For most women, pregnancy is one of the most joyous and transformative journeys in their lives. This nine-month voyage is filled with wonder, anticipation, and an overwhelming sense of love and responsibility. From feeling the first fluttering movements to hearing the baby's heartbeat, every moment is a unique treasure. While most family members look after the physical well-being of a soon-to-be-mom, looking after the maternal mental health is equally essential. Conditions such as postpartum depression and anxiety can significantly impact a mother's ability to bond with her newborn and handle the challenges of motherhood.

Mental illness during pregnancy is a prevalent problem which in no way should be ignored. A lot of women or new moms suffer from mental health problems. However, very few cases are reported. The stigma around the issue restricts the mothers from coming out and seeking help, making the concept of maternal mental health more important.

What is Maternal Mental Health?

According to the WHO, maternal mental health reflects the overall wellness of a mother, where she can actively engage in the chores of life while dealing with everyday stress normally and contributing to society.

The new changes that occur with pregnancy are common reasons why women are not able to cope with their regular stress. Changes in physical appearance and body, weight gain or loss, loss of sleep, and much more can be leading factors in unsettled mental health during pregnancy. Also, one may witness the symptoms of such disorders before, during, or even after the birth.

Disturbed mental health during pregnancy affects not only the mother but the baby as well. Signs of stress, anxiety, and depression are quite common and are different for each woman. Even though the pregnancy period is often a happy time, sudden changes in body and mind can negatively impact the psychological well-being of women.

Pregnancy and Mental Health

Statistics reveal that suicide is one of the leading causes of death for women in their pregnancy as well as post-partum period. This happens because of the poor mental health conditions of women during their pregnancy. The same is a health challenge for countries all across the globe, be they developing or developed ones. However, the number of suffering women in developing countries is a bit higher than in developed countries. Studies report that no less than 20% of women in developing nations are exposed to the threats of pregnancy postpartum depression. Other associated threats include conditions like postpartum anxiety, compulsive disorder, stress disorder, and so on.

The impact of these conditions can be seen on mothers and can last on babies for a long time as well. Studies attest to their long-term negative impact on the overall health and wellness of mother and child.

Common Symptoms of Poor Mental Health

As every woman is different, there are no universal symptoms of mental distress or maternity depression. However, some of the common signs can be alarming. These can be seen as an indication of the mother's call for help, and they include:

  1. Loss of sleep
  2. Sadness
  3. Feeling low
  4. High pulse rate
  5. Dehydration
  6. Feeling of hopelessness
  7. Obsessive thoughts or worry over things.

Who All are Exposed to Maternal Disorders?

When you think about the risk of maternal disorders, basically all women in their pregnancy or even after pregnancy, for some period, are exposed to the risk of maternal distress. The pressure to meet societal expectations and the demanding nature of motherhood can exacerbate stress and anxiety.

However, with proper care and support, such risks can be reduced. Issues like poverty, biases, stress, or some other kind of social conflict can enhance the exposure of mothers to such disorders. Women with low emotional and community-based support are highly at risk of such mental disorders.

Effects of Maternal Distress

Mental distress can directly impact the overall wellness of mothers. It might be normal for them to ignore their health and well-being. They might not be interested in eating or even taking proper care of themselves. Also, they are exposed to serious risks of depression, severe illness, or even suicide.

The willingness to care and provide for their babies can also be absent in moms struggling with poor mental health. It speaks a lot about why good mental health for pregnancy is a must for all women.

Absence of the same can affect the child as well. The babies might not be able to get proper nutrition and emotional support. Additionally, their ability to self-soothe and positively react to the environment is also reduced. This can hamper their long-term relationship with their mother and can also give birth to problems like attachment issues and more.

>> Also Read: Benefits of Maternity Health Insurance

Getting Help for Maternal Depression

While maternal depression can be sad and severe, they are treatable. As discussed, many women are exposed to these mental disorders, and the best way to prevent them is to start with family and paediatric support.

Talking and sharing your concerns with the paediatrician can help him easily recognise your mental health situation and will allow him to help accordingly. They also have resources and experience that can be helpful for you while connecting with other healthcare providers.

Additionally, psychotherapy can also be helpful for pregnant women as well as new moms. It helps build such a space where women can express their feelings well without any fear of judgment or stigma.

An Integrated Approach towards Maternal Mental Health 

Even after the identification of mental illness and other associated problems, a major section of patients are unable to seek help. This means only a few patients can get the proper help and support needed to come out of the distress. There are several reasons why care does not reach everyone. First, the stigma and stereotype around mental health restricts patients from asking for support. Additionally, there is a lack of time and awareness, making the situation worse.

An integrated approach towards mental health can help overcome the problems of medical complications. One won't need to rush to different offices, manage distinct files, and more. Moreover, they can be one of the major steps in making maternal mental care a part of overall healthcare for the whole family.

Summing Up

While many reasons can lead to mental distress in pregnant women as well as new mothers, they can be easily treated with proper medical support and emotional reassurance from the family. Ignoring these conditions can leave a long-term adverse impact on the mother and child as well as their relationship.

Recognising and addressing maternal mental health issues is vital, as they not only impact the mother's quality of life but also influence the child's development and family dynamics. Raising awareness, providing support, and encouraging open dialogue about maternal mental health are essential steps to ensuring the well-being of both mothers and their children.

If you or a family member is planning to start a family soon, health insurance can be an ideal gift for them. To offer comprehensive support to expecting mothers, investing in a maternity health insurance plan such as those offered by Care Health Insurance can be a great choice.

We wish you good health and a happy pregnancy!

Disclaimers: The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.


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