Relationships and Emotional Health
For many women, pregnancy is a happy time. It’s also an anxious, exhausting, stressful, and unpredictable time. Think about it: Your body is changing, hormones are racing, and you’re growing a baby — on top of all the things you did before you were pregnant. Ups and downs are inevitable, so it’s important to know how to deal with them and ask for support when you need it.
Creating your support network
A strong support network can help make your pregnancy less stressful and more fun. To get started, look around you and think about the people you really want to be involved with your pregnancy. Everyone needs support, but you call the shots. Who will you count on over the next 9 months?
If you’re in a relationship, pregnancy can be an opportunity to grow closer to your partner. Make time to talk — and listen — to each other. You’re the one with the baby bump, but you’re in this journey together!
- Talk about fears, excitements, and anxieties.
- Encourage your partner to come to prenatal visits.
- Prepare for childbirth as a team by taking a class.*
- Ask for help and support when you need it.
Your family and friends
Many women look to their moms, sisters, and other close female relatives as their main source of support during pregnancy. If you’re close with your family, get them on board from the beginning and let them know you’re open to hearing their words of wisdom. If your friends are more like family, reach out to the ones you want to add to your “mom squad” and let them know. They’ll probably be flattered you asked!
Your fellow moms-to-be
There’s no substitute for mom wisdom. Try to spend time with other women who are pregnant or have small children. Sharing similar experiences can help you relieve common worries, feel more connected, and get an inside look at what to expect.
We offer group care, workshops, and prenatal support groups* for Kaiser Permanente members at many of our facilities. They’re a great way to meet other people who share the same joys and challenges. See what’s available in your area here, or ask us about opportunities to connect with other moms-to-be at your next visit.
Pregnancy is a big deal — and a lot to deal with. To be honest, it would be strange if you weren’t a little stressed during your pregnancy. It’s normal to worry and wonder about how your body is changing, how your baby is doing, and what delivery day will be like. But too much stress isn’t good for you or your baby. To manage your stress:
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Try to relax for a few minutes each day. Read a book, listen to music, or write in a journal.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Talk about what’s making you stressed.
Depression during pregnancy
It’s normal to feel a bit down as your pregnancy hormones fluctuate. But if you feel sad, angry, or hopeless more days than not, you may be suffering from perinatal depression. Symptoms of depression include:
- Having no energy
- Sleeping and eating too little or too much
- Withdrawing from friends and family
If you think you might be depressed, let us know. Depression is common during all stages of pregnancy, as well as postpartum, and we can help you deal with it in healthy ways. Talk to us about what you’re experiencing — we’re here to help you through.
Sex and pregnancy
Sex during a healthy pregnancy is perfectly safe, as long as you’re comfortable with it. If you’re not up to it, explore other ways to be intimate with your partner. Either way, try to spend time together before your new baby arrives. It can help you stay connected and keep your relationship strong.
If you do choose to have sex while you’re pregnant, here are some practical things to keep in mind:
- Don’t worry that having sex will hurt the baby. Your cervix and amniotic sac keep your baby safe.
- Speak up if you want to take things slow. For some women, sex is more intense during pregnancy.
- As your due date approaches, you’ll need to get creative to find a comfortable position. Take advantage of the chance to try something new!
- Don’t panic if you have a slight bloody discharge or mild contractions after having sex. This is normal as long as they don’t continue for more than an hour. Call us if they do — we’re here for you 24/7.
Love the body you’re in
Some people say there’s nothing more beautiful than a pregnant woman. But it can be hard to see your baby bump growing so fast that it looks like you swallowed a watermelon. Gaining weight in pregnancy is healthy for both you and your baby. Try to keep your eye on the prize — that amazing bundle of joy you’re growing.
If you’re feeling insecure, here are some things you can do for a pick-me-up:
- Spend time with other pregnant women — you can support each other during this time of change.
- Treat yourself to a trip to the salon or spa. You’re creating a new life — you deserve a little pampering.
- Believe the people who tell you that you never looked more beautiful. They’re right!
*Some classes may require a fee.