3 ways to manage your risk of depression and anxiety in pregnancy (when you’ve had them before)

  • If you are a reflective person who enjoys writing, journalling can help you to process life’s challenges. There is a reason that journalling is sometimes called expressive therapy!
  • Enjoy your partner – and keep the conflict low. Partner conflict is one of the biggest risk factors for anxiety and depression. Pregnancy is a good time to create relationship patterns that you can carry through to the early parenting years. With a new baby on the way, time becomes a precious commodity. Intentionally nurture your relationship with your partner.
  • Try yoga. There is growing evidence that yoga reduces stress. And, lower stress means lower risk of depression and anxiety.
  • Spend time in nature. There is a growing eco-therapy movement that shows that spending time walking or exercising outdoors helps to reduce stress and increase calm.

Want to read more about self-care during pregnancy? Here are 7 hacks for your emotional well-being while pregnant.

3. Don’t discontinue your medication without first discussing it with your doctor.

Many women go off their depression or anxiety medication for fear that it will harm their baby. However, stopping medication cold turkey isn’t a good idea either.

Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss medication options, such as:

  • gradually tapering off the medication and switching to therapy
  • changing to another medication
  • lowering the dosage of your existing medication
  • continuing on your current medication.

If you’re planning to become pregnant, discuss a medication plan with your doctor ahead of time. Some medications that are safe in pregnancy include amitriptyline, imipramine, nortriptyline, fluoxetine (Note. This is not a complete list).

Want to read more about taking medications while pregnant? Read on to find out whether antidepressants cause autism in pregnancy.

Dr. Dawn Kingston, Canada’s leading expert on perinatal mental health and for over ten years has been at the forefront of research on how to prevent postpartum depression. Her team has developed the HOPE App which is designed to significantly reduce prenatal anxiety and depression and directly support expectant mothers. They are studying it in a massive implementation study, one of the most ambitious projects of this type ever!

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