Types of Mental Health States During Pregnancy

Source: en.wikipedia.org

 

The medical literature described other clinical states that can happen during pregnancy. It is important to differentiate and identify the clinical state of the mother as each may require a different approach. Some may need psychotherapy, medications, or none at all.

Baby Blues. Considered as the most common form of mood imbalance occurring as early as Day 5 following delivery period and will last until 10 or 14 days. If the symptoms are mild, the mothering role is not compromised, and treatment may not be needed. However, if symptoms worsen, this can lead to a full-blown PPD.

Post-partum Depression is a psychological state involving depressive episodes in some mothers occurring during pregnancy or after giving birth. Treatments may include psychotherapy or administration of certain medications to manage or treat the psychological imbalance. Experts believe that this can happen to mothers whose pregnancy is a result of rape or sexual abuse, lack of support from families or the husband, history of mental illness in the family, and hormonal imbalance that happens during pregnancy that may affect the brain functioning to regulate mood and effect.

Postpartum Panic Disorder. Presenting almost the same clinical features of a panic attack, the condition does not primarily display depression but fear or being scared to death. Medications can be given immediately to help the mother get over with panic symptoms. SSRIs or Serotonin reuptake inhibitors can alleviate symptoms of heightened anxiety levels, and CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy can be used as the panic attacks become frequent.

 

Source: health.mil

 

Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (PPOCD). Another mental health state that does not clinically portray depression as the primary problem, but the intrusive thoughts and compulsions following feelings of anxiety over the new role or experience. This is very common for new or young mothers and fathers alike. Being new to the parenting role, they possess the state of fear that they will do harm than good to the infant thus a cycle of obsession and compulsive actions are developed. The good news is that this condition is treatable and only temporary.

Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PPPTSD). Giving birth can pose life-threatening situations both to the mother and the infant. Condition or circumstances like undergoing birth trauma such as forceps delivery, prolapse of the cord, or bleeding can lead to a traumatic experience for the mother and may eventually develop into post-traumatic stress disorder. This is also a temporary state and resolves once the mother has fully grasped the situation and with the help of mental health professionals and significant others.

 

Source: health.mil

 

Postpartum Psychosis. The most serious and warrants hospital admission as the mother can be a threat to the infant or herself. The mother will be presenting significant signs of psychosis such as thought process deviations like hallucinations, illusion, and delusions. Since inpatient admission is required, the mother is prescribed with antipsychotic medications and psychotherapy in the later stages

 

Mothers need all the support, assistance, and care they need during pregnancy and after giving birth. The presence of the husband or father is very crucial during the whole pregnancy stage. Family support coming from first-degree family members is very significant to the mother while undergoing this phase of her life. One thing to remember is a happy pregnancy can lead to positive outlooks in the future.

 

PCOS Causes That You Need To Know About

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In my 25 years of existence, never have I ever pictured myself out dealing with an ovarian-related problem. My lifestyle is no different from my same-aged peers. I have a nine-to-five job that I neither love nor hate; I party and date when the opportunity arises. Of course, I also dream of becoming a mom of not one but three kids in the near future.

However, a few months back, I realized that I missed two cycles consecutively. Missing one period used not to bother me; I was told at a young age that it happens sometimes. But when a couple of months passed without menstruating, I thought, “Am I pregnant?” Multiple pregnancy test kits said ‘no,’ so what could it be?

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Signs Of PCOS That You Shouldn’t Miss

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone-related issue that people hardly think about even if it’s staring at them in the face. The reason is that we all lack awareness about the existence of this illness. It does not come with painful symptoms either, which are usually the indications that push women to consult an OB-GYN. Despite that, PCOS is as real as any other disease you can think of.

In truth, the polycystic ovarian syndrome can be your worst nightmare, especially if all you have ever dreamed of is to become a mom. Having PCOS entails that cysts form outside of your ovaries, preventing the egg cells from getting released. Even when you are trying to conceive with your husband, the sperm cells will eventually die because they don’t have eggs to fertilize.

Considering you have not been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome but still unsure whether you have it or not, here are some signs that you should not miss.

Irregular Menstrual Cycle

The first sign of PCOS is an irregular menstrual cycle. Some women go through a month or two without getting their period while others can go as far as six months. At times, the flow is heavy, and the duration lasts up to seven days; other times, it’s a miracle to reach the third day. You cannot overlook this indication because the irregularity can lower your chances of getting pregnant in the future.

Weight Gain

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Source: pixabay.com

Although not all PCOS patients are either obese or overweight, most of them are. The reason is that the syndrome reduces your body’s ability to make use of insulin, the hormone to transform carbohydrates into energy. As a result, the sugars turn into fats, and your love handles will not go away regardless of how much exercising and dieting you do.

When an OB-GYN diagnoses PCOS, they usually prescribe metformin. You may have heard of this drug from people with diabetes before, but it can also be useful for women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome. Not only can metformin reduce your blood glucose, after all, but you can count on it to normalize your cycle as well.

Acne

You should have been able to get rid of your acne problem once the puberty stage is over. However, considering you still see zits on your face, back, and other body parts, it may indicate that you have PCOS.

There’s no need to be surprised if it happens. As you know, both acne and polycystic ovaries are brought about by hormonal changes. You cannot treat your pimples adequately if you have no idea about the condition that causes them to appear.

Final Thoughts

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Source: pixabay.com

Have you noticed some or all of the signs mentioned above in you? If not, it most likely means that you are safe from PCOS. If you have, however, you should go to your OB-GYN to confirm it. This way, you can see your treatment options and figure out a way to at least regularize your period or get pregnant despite having this syndrome.

Good luck!

Coping With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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People say that when life gives you lemons, you are supposed to make lemonade. It entails that you need to see the situation in a positive light, no matter what. However, can you still do the same if life gives you polycystic ovaries?

The latter is the question that I kept on asking myself after I got diagnosed with PCOS. At the time, I had not gotten my menstruation for three months straight. I was not sexually active, so it was easy to rule out pregnancy. There were no other symptoms as well aside from the lack of bleeding each month. Hence, I asked my mom to book an appointment for me with her OB-GYN.

When the doctor was already using an ultrasound, I saw little spots covering my ovaries. From what I heard, the image should be smooth if everything’s fine. Due to the new picture, though, it allowed the OB-GYN to deduce that I have the polycystic ovary syndrome.

I admit that I moped a bit after learning about my PCOS. That was especially true in the next months when I was taking pills to boost menstruation. But I knew that there was no one to blame for it except for myself.

If you want to know how to cope after finding out that you have PCOS, here’s what you can do.

Accept The Condition

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The first thing that you should do is to accept that you have polycystic ovary syndrome. There’s no denying it – the ultrasound undoubtedly says so. You may visit another OB-GYN to get the second opinion, but if the results are similar to what you have received from the first one, you have no choice but to accept the condition.

In truth, acceptance will always be the key to coping and possibly healing. You cannot do anything if you cannot cross this initial step.

Lessen Your Stressors

I am not a doctor, but I can say for sure that your lifestyle can affect your PCOS. When I got diagnosed with it, after all, I had weeks of sleepless nights. I was doing my thesis and writing full-time back then, so I did not have enough hours of rest. The situation only improved when I lessened my workload and slept a lot and ate healthily.

It will also be helpful if you can stay away from people who always stress you out. Stressors are not your best friend; they can aggravate your condition. If you want to have regular cycles, you need to let go of stressful folks in your life.

Keep An Open Mind Regarding Treatment

PCOS is technically easy to treat. Some people regularize their menstruation by exercising and eating well; others get prescribed with progesterone pills or injections. In case either will not work, though, the OB-GYN may tell you to take birth control pills for up to six months at max. I suggest staying open-minded when it comes to treatments.

Final Thoughts

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Remember that polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal condition. Meaning, any action that deviates from how your body is supposed to be can take your hormones out for a spin and activate your PCOS. You may never be able to overcome the disease, but you can learn how to cope with it.

Worries Of A PCOS Patient

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Seeing me for the first time may indicate how bubbly I am as a person. I smile and laugh easily; I am extremely chill to be with as well. However, you should believe that like most people, I can hide my problems behind the broad smiles and loud laughs I give.

In truth, I was diagnosed with the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) when I was 19 years old. The layman explanation for this condition is that watery cysts engulf the ovaries, preventing the eggs from coming out. The result is that the menstruation becomes delayed for months.

I have been keeping in touch with my OB-GYN ever since I learned about my PCOS. She checks on me every month and makes sure that I am getting my periods regularly. Despite that, from the day I found out about it up to now, I can’t shake off a few worries.

Can I Get Pregnant?

My biggest concern is my capability to conceive a baby and carry it to full-term. Although I am not a doctor, I am aware of the basic idea that menstruating each month increases my chances of being a mom. The blood entails that at least one egg drops from the ovaries, albeit unfertilized. So, there is no barrier for the sperm cells if ever I am ready to bear a child.

As mentioned above, however, having polycystic ovary syndrome makes the cycle unstable. Sometimes it is regular; other times, it skips. That is why it feels bothersome to ensure that I can become a mom in time.

Source: pixabay.com

When Can I Mind My Lifestyle Less?

It seems typical for every individual to want to let loose and do everything guilt-free. If you want to drink soda all day long, you can do it. In case you binge-watch on Netflix till morning and only eat junk foods, no one will scold you.

The thing is, I have not been able to do any of that since the diagnosis. After all, the OB-GYN has had a great sense that the PCOS came about because all I used to eat are junk foods. Not to mention, I barely slept due to work.

I know that being mindful of my lifestyle can regularize my cycle, but I still miss the old, PCOS-free days.

Will My PCOS Go Away?

The question seems pointless, considering polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the illnesses that scientists still don’t know much about. As a patient, though, I can’t help but wonder if it will ever happen.

PCOS is not as life-threatening as cancer or diabetes – that’s true. It does not come with debilitating symptoms either. Still, it is difficult to carry a disease that can prevent you from reaching the full circle.

Final Thoughts

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Learning that you have a condition that science cannot understand or help you get rid of can be frustrating. That is precisely the case when it affects your ability to get pregnant. Nevertheless, if you devote yourself to the various treatment options that your doctor may present to you, nothing is impossible.

Good luck!

Madonna In The Eyes Of The Master And Antoniazzo Romano

According to therapists, paintings are works of art whose meanings cannot often be easily interpreted at a glance. One has to look at the vividness or lightness of colors truly and the figures being portrayed in the masterpiece for you to have an inkling regarding the ideas that have been running in the artist’s mind when he or she was finishing it.

The subject that they paint is not always unique. The distinction shows in the manner that they have expressed the scenario. A particular matter that many artists have done a piece of in the last centuries in the Madonna.

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Source: commons.wikimedia.org

The Mother And Child

Madonna is the illustration of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus Christ. This has been the subject for various Italian Renaissance painters, to be specific, because of the strong prevalence of Catholic and Orthodox religions in European countries. To craft such a representation of a religious icon exhibits their belief and devotion to the lady who has agreed to carry in her womb the son of God, despite her purity and unmarried status at the time of conception.

Some of the talented people who have painted their version of Madonna are Salvador Dali, Leonardo da Vinci, Giovanni Bellini, Raffaello, and Michelangelo. However, the artists who have nailed their name in art history through this figure are the Master and Antoniazzo Romano.

Master’s Straus Madonna

If typical depictions of Madonna only show the mother and the child, Master’s Straus Madonna are more elaborate than that. In his painting, you will see both of them gazing at each other’s eyes. The two angels are watching over Mary and Jesus, while the four saints – two of which have been identified as Saint Dominic and Saint John the Baptist – are below them.

Upon taking a closer look, it is apparent that the mother and the child are floating above the saints, and the angels seem to be ascending with the two. The creases and folds on the characters’ garments are very defined, and the cloth that covers the baby’s lower body has a pinkish hue.

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Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Antoniazzo Romano’s Madonna

The Madonna painting that was created by Antoniazzo Romano gives a clear picture of the Virgin Mary’s enthronement. The image produced displays a crown directly above the mother’s head. On her right is Saint Peter, while Saint Paul has occupied the left side. The former is presenting a book the Mary as he holds the actual key to heaven in his other hand, whereas the former clutches a bible and a sword.

In this case, the baby is standing on his mother’s lap and is only slightly supported by Mary’s arm. The background is similar to a church setting, yet the new queen is sitting in an actual throne. There are extra details on the halo of Mary and Jesus as well, in comparison to the saints’.

The Artists’ Painting Styles Explained

The greatest painters, even though they paint diverse things all the time, illustrate most of their subjects in a fashion that can only be attributed to them. The Master of the Straus Madonna, for instance, has formed slim figures, as this is what he is famous for. As for Antoniazzo Romano’s Madonna, the faces are slightly bigger and somewhat lighter.

The two paintings are similar, however, in the sense that the artists have used the same medium to generate such masterpieces. During the time when the idea about these artworks has been perceived, the painters have become accustomed to painting on a panel. Before that, the artists back then have only been familiar with working on walls, ceilings, and statues, and their imagination has brought the fresco into existence. Further experimentations and their desire to be able to paint on something that can be carried anywhere has made them realize that painting on wood is a great choice as well.

Romano and Master’s versions of Madonna have been done with gold leaf and the tempera medium. Tempera refers to colors which have resulted from mixing the egg yolk and different pigments. The yolk serves as the binding material between the dye and the panel. Because the shades that an artist can obtain from this are quite limited, they have decided to incorporated bits of gold into the artwork, intending to emphasize the shapes and lines in it. This is the ultimate secret behind the figures’ three-dimensional forms.

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Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Master Vs. Antoniazzo Romano’s Representation

The identity of the mother and child may be alike in the paintings of the artists, but their facial expressions are not. The Master has displayed Mary as a parent who lovingly stares at her son. She cradles Jesus in both of her arms, and you can get the feeling that you are witnessing a special bonding moment between the two. This has always been how the Virgin Mother’s character was portrayed across history.

On the other hand, Romano’s Madonna does not have the warmth that surrounds the Master’s painting. In this specific piece, Mary and baby Jesus’s gazes are directed to what is ahead of them. Because of this, it can be immediately deduced that she is the queen, and in her arms is the future king of all the kings. This invokes a solid sense of superiority there that is not evident in the Madonna made by the Master, even though in that masterpiece the mother and child are ascending to the heavens and with the saints underneath them.

One explanation that can come to mind is that the visible changes are due to the age difference of the infants in Romano and Master’s paintings. The latter is in a very early stage of his life in which he cannot do anything without his mother. Thus, they are communicating through emotional and physical touches alone. On the contrary, the baby in the former can stand up, so it entails he can already understand Mary’s words. This does not entail though that the bond that is connecting them has been broken.

Final Thoughts

The slight dissimilarity in the masterpieces of Antoniazzo Romano and the Master shows the true nature of mothers in the universe. Their love for the offspring is everlasting, yet they know when is the right time to let go and allow the child to do his or her life tasks.

How To Cope With Fertility Issues

Research in psychology shows that stress experienced by women after learning about their infertility is similar to the feeling of women experiencing serious physical illnesses. Infertility is a difficult situation to be in. Entirely accepting it is even harder, as the situation itself seems ridiculous to most would-be mothers.

In fact, why would they believe that they’re infertile? Every woman can reproduce and bear offspring, right?

Sadly, science, numerous research, and women like you prove the contrary. Infertility is a real and serious situation women go through. It results in confusion, refusal to admit to the condition, and incomprehension. In most cases, women can feel sad for long periods, feel their self-esteem plummet, and in extreme cases, develop illnesses related to depression and anxiety.

What Is Infertility?

Infertility is the inability to get pregnant. Studies show that ten to 15 percent of paired partners in the country are unable to produce a child. These numbers indicate that you are not alone in your journey, and other women and pairs out there are suffering from the devastating news of not being able to carry a child either.

Infertility is usual in women age 35 and over, with irregular menstrual cycles, and have had miscarriages before. Causes of infertility might be ovulation disorders, uterine or cervical problems, damage or blockage on fallopian tubes, endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, and primary ovarian insufficiency. Cancer and its respective treatments can also affect fertility, as well as other medical conditions that are associated with delayed puberty and irregular cycles.

Source: thebluediamondgallery.com

How Do You Cope With Infertility?

Knowing that you’re infertile not only affects your perception of yourself but your relationship with your partner as well, especially if having children were a large part of your plan. Remember though, that it is not your fault if you’re unable to bear a child. A lot of different factors cause infertility in women, some of these even for unknown reasons.

It’s normal to undergo all the five stages of grief, and it’s also reasonable to feel sad for weeks after learning of the news. Infertility is usually a condition that lasts throughout your life, where you have little to absolutely no chance of producing offspring at all.

Here’s how you can cope with the news of your infertility:

  1. Identify and accept all of your feelings.

Allow yourself to grieve and be sad about the news. Don’t bottle up all of your emotions, nor deny yourself of the chance to be vulnerable. Forget all of the expectations you have and focus on your feelings, let yourself brood, and accept what has happened to you. This is your reality, and it is something people also usually go through. It’s not okay, but you will be, eventually.

Source: flickr.com

  1. Gather support.

During this critical time, it’s essential you only surround yourself with people who sympathize and understand your situation. You need the support of your spouse the most, too. Talk to him and discuss your pain, and what you want to do.

People who are not helpful in your recovery should be forgotten and set aside, as these are detrimental to your growth. Having a support system helps you get through darker days. Knowing that people who love you and care for you are waiting for you to get better and supporting you every step of the way will improve your mood and lead to your steady recovery.

  1. Write your feelings down when it gets too much.

Of course, there will be times when you experience regression. As always, allow yourself to be sad. Bottling up your emotions won’t improve your mood. You can try writing your feelings daily, like in a diary or a journal. Writing your feelings allows you to see your emotions from a detached perspective; you can review your thoughts, and understand how or why you felt like that and what you can do to help yourself recover.

  1. Ignore the social stigma and focus on your betterment.

Take a break from social media, and away from people who comment badly on your condition. They don’t know or understand what you’re going through, so their negative comments should have no bearing on your mind.

Source: flickr.com

  1. Consider counseling and therapy.

If you begin experiencing signs of depression or anxiety, consider getting help with counseling or therapy right away. Don’t let your mental condition remain stagnant and get help right away.

Remember, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, sad, and pain at the news. But you should not forget that there’s a life outside of this too, that you can still have a family in non-conventional ways, and that it is possible to move on from this devastating news.

Mommy Matters, Too: Taking Care Of Your Mental Health in Pregnancy

The challenge of motherhood can be daunting. Just thinking about the responsibility of bearing a child and what it means once you give birth is outright stressful. Motherhood is a lifetime commitment. The entire pregnancy process is nine months long, where you have to deal with your body changing to accommodate the life growing inside you. Of course, coupled with stress, once the pressure and anxiety of the unknown come crashing down on you, you’ll feel sad and fatigued. That’s perfectly normal. Once your body has begun changing significantly, it will naturally affect the state of your mental health as well.

Source: flickr.com

If you’re feeling sad, lonely, nervous or worried, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help. It’s essential that concerns such as this one are given notice right away, and not ignored. For you and your baby’s health, you should take care of yourself as much as you can. Sleep on time, eat healthy foods on time, exercise and regularly take your vitamins. If you feel like you need help, especially with regards to your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out. As you go through your pregnancy, you’ll quickly realize that you’ll need a support system to get you through this experience. Don’t keep your problems to yourself. When it gets too much, reach out.

About 15% of women will develop depression or anxiety during pregnancy. These are among the most common mental health problems during pregnancy. Some illnesses that women are prone to during pregnancy are depression, anxiety, and in some cases, bipolar disorder. One out of ten women experiences antenatal depression, which is not uncommon. Antenatal anxiety is also a common illness and may be experienced together with depression at the same time. Antenatal depression, if left untreated, can be a precursor to postpartum depression.

Pregnancy And Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that affects 1 in every four women during the span of their entire life. Pregnant women are not an exception. However, diagnosis of depression can be during pregnancy due to a tendency of it being just another type of hormonal imbalance. Depression during pregnancy is called antepartum depression. It is a biological illness that involves changes in the chemical makeup of the brain. During pregnancy, hormone changes can affect the chemicals in your mind which are directly related to depression and anxiety.

Anxiety In Pregnancy

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry, and fear that can either be mild or severe. Some people with anxiety are also at risk of having panic attacks. Pregnant women may feel an overwhelming amount of worry, fear, anxiousness, and panic despite being okay physically. You have to remember that anxiety is a mental health condition and though you appear okay on the outside, doesn’t always mean you’re okay on the inside too. Anxiety in pregnancy is usual, with a ratio of 1 in every ten women having it.

Take Care Of Your Mental Health

Pregnancy and childbirth are major life events, so it’s understandable if you’re in utter fear of what the future may bring. Both can baffle you and affect your mental health significantly even without you noticing, so it’s essential that you talk to someone about your feelings and emotions.

Source: af.mil

Treating mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are treated the same way with pregnant women as with non-pregnant women. Once you’ve reached out and there has been a diagnosis of your mental health, steps will be taken to ensure you’re getting the help you need and deserve. Treatment includes weekly counseling and therapy sessions, and doctors might prescribe some safe medicine that can help ebb the hormonal imbalances in your brain. Safe exercises might also be suggested, like yoga and meditation. Your doctor might recommend any treatment that brings forth peace of mind and your overall wellbeing.

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Talk to your doctor or your gynecologist. With pregnancy bears a lot of pressure and expectations that might get the better of you. It’s important to discuss these emotions and feelings with someone else, someone you trust, so they can guide you and possibly lessen the burden you are already carrying as a would-be mother. Motherhood is a fulfilling but entirely stressful experience, which is why you deserve to get as much help as you can as you journey down the road of procreation.