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Feeling depressed & anxious during pregnancy

Feeling depressed & anxious during pregnancy

For most people, the overriding emotion felt when they find out that they are going to become a parent is happiness. However, along with this happiness come a number of other emotions. Even if the pregnancy has been long awaited for, you are likely to feel anxious and uncertain about the future. Your body, lifestyle, home and work life and relationships are all going to change after the birth of your baby.

Changes in your shape

While some women are proud of their increase in size during pregnancy and like to flaunt their bulge, others find their increased size difficult to get used to and may worry about looking unattractive. Certainly the changes to your body that come with pregnancy may feel very strange - for example, a normally flat-chested woman may be surprised when she suddenly finds that she has full breasts. But try to feel positive about your changing image. You are, after all, doing a very important job and the changes to your body are only temporary. Many people - both men and women - find the pregnant body extremely sensual and attractive with its fullness and curves. In the later stages of pregnancy women frequently seem to almost shine from the inside. Try to make the most of your flawless skin, thick hair and rosy cheeks to give yourself a confidence boost - feel proud of your fabulous shape!

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Emotions

Being pregnant can sometimes feel like being on an emotional rollercoaster. This is due to the huge surge of hormones in your body during pregnancy, which makes most pregnant women feel like they have less control of their emotions. One minute you may feel over the moon about becoming a parent and the next you may dread the day you are due to give birth. You may worry about how you are going to cope from day to day and whether you will make a good parent. You may burst out crying for no reason at any moment, even in front of complete strangers. And, often, minor incidents may seem like total catastrophes. Try not to worry too much about these changes in your personality - it is quite normal to feel low, anxious, and tearful sometimes during pregnancy.

Anxiety

Your body has to produce extra insulin - the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels - from mid-pregnancy onwards to manage your baby's needs as well as your own. If it can't meet these needs, a higher-than-usual level of sugar may be found in the blood. This is known as gestational diabetes, a temporary condition that can come on during some pregnancies, but usually disappears within hours of your baby being born.

You'll be more susceptible to gestational diabetes if you are overweight, older, if one of your parents or a sibling is an insulin-dependant diabetic, and if you are of Afro-Caribbean, Indian or Middle Eastern origin.

Although symptoms can include fatigue and frequent urination (common in all pregnancies!), you are unlikely to realise you have a problem until sugar is found in your urine during one of your routine antenatal appointments. If this is the case, you will probably be asked to undergo a blood glucose test to see if you have developed diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is a problem because high sugar levels in the blood can cross the placenta leading to a very big baby, a baby born with low blood sugar and an increased risk of congenital defects. If your condition is diagnosed early and you manage your condition carefully however, problems should be minimised.

You will be advised to cut down on sugar and caffeine and eat more frequent, smaller meals. Regular exercise is important too. In some cases you may have to have regular insulin injections. Your baby's progress will probably be monitored closely too.

For further information log on to the Diabetes Society of Singapore?site.

Where to go for help

If you are truly anxious about your worries speak to your husband, a trusted friend or your midwife who will be able to reassure you that what you are experiencing is normal. If your worries continue contact your GP or midwife for advice.