Women who already know they have a mental illness may be able to better prepare themselves for pregnancy—it is the women who have not been diagnosed who may face the biggest risks during and after pregnancy, Dr. Lusskin says. Common signs of mental illness that Dr. Lusskin says pregnant women may encounter as early as the first trimester include:
- Lack of energy
- Little to no appetite
- Sleep disorders
- Sad, blue, hopeless and helpless mood swings
- Suicidal feelings
- Lack of bonding with the baby
Dr. Lusskin says these lifestyle changes may also help you stay mentally healthy:
- Exercise regularly. Dr. Lusskin says exercise can help alleviate minor cases of depression, and also promotes overall health.
- Eat healthy. "Don't binge on carbs—that is not a good thing,"Dr. Lusskin says. Overeating in general will make you feel bad about yourself and affects your mood, she says.
- Minimize environmental stress. "When a woman is highly anxious and depressed, her biochemical environment changes," she says. "Those chemicals have an effect on a developing fetus."