Being Pregnant is indeed a life-changing experience. Just the thought of bringing a human life into this world is overwhelming and magical at the same time. But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. In this nine-month-long strenuous journey, the mother goes through major physical changes and psychological predicaments. The purpose of Pregnancy Counselling is to help a mother handle all the unforeseen burdens pregnancy brings along.
What is Pregnancy Counselling?
Pregnancy Counselling gives the expectant mother a safe space to talk about her feelings and address her concerns with help of a qualified health professional. Pregnancy support counselling is not just for the mother’s mental health, but rather for parenting, health or relationship issues that stem from the pregnancy. This counselling provides the mother with essential advice and recommendations for improving or maintaining her health and the health of her baby before and after the delivery. In addition to this, the partner is also educated as to how he can best support the pregnant wife. Pregnancy Counselling promotes an atmosphere of preparedness and awareness, helping parents get ready for parenthood with help of action plans that bring into consideration every potential outcome and possibility. This aids parents-to-be in easing into the new reality that awaits them.
Common Reasons to Seek Pregnancy Counselling
- Body Transition
In the prenatal and perinatal period, a mother might find it hard to come to terms with her changing body. Expectant mothers often have difficulty accepting their growing bellies or loving their baby bump and this struggle might lead to doubts, worrisome behaviour and a lack of bond with their fetus. Pregnancy, body Image and motherhood go hand in hand. Mothers sometimes might have doubts as to their capacity to put the small human’s needs before their own or fears about their body’s ability to survive childbirth.Pregnancy Counselling helps mothers speak out their mind and feel comfortable about their body image, aiding them further by setting expectations and dispensing myths.
- Stress and Anxiety
Women face a lot of pressure in their antenatal period. In these moments a mother is vulnerable to depression, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed due to reasons like an unplanned pregnancy, problems coping with increased sensitivity, stress of leaving work, fear of birth (tokophobia) or facing issues in maintaining intimacy with the partner as they transition to parenthood. Counselling can help screen any mental health concerns earlier, helping women with healthy coping strategies and positive lifestyle changes. In other cases, past mental health issues resurface or trauma from a previous pregnancy re-emerges (be it a failed pregnancy or an emergency C-section). Such situations are likely to trigger flashbacks, nightmares, or a lack of trust in caregivers. Counselling helps in staying focused on the pregnancy and in dealing with difficult memories. This can be done with support from one’s significant other who also receives guidance as part of Pregnancy Counselling.
- Dietary and Health Advisory
In pregnancy counselling, equal importance is given to the woman’s health and the baby’s health. Be it providing advise on recognizing signs of labour, signs of danger during labour, information on sex while pregnancy, promoting family planning or regular pregnancy blood test check-ups; everything is done for the shared health of the mother and the child. Moreover, significant importance is given to the mother’s diet like what special nutrients to intake during pregnancy (protein, vitamin C, fibres), as well as what to refrain from (tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, unprescribed medication). Special attention is given to help women who are underweight, have an increased level of physical activity, or are suffering from an illness while pregnant.
To-be-parents could benefit majorly from even a single session of Pregnancy Counselling. One session alone could help them recognize the signs, take precautions and normalize the experience of pregnancy. It is crucial to consult with a certified and trusted medical professional or a trusted healthcare clinic, who will not only have the expertise but will also be transparent and respect confidentiality of their patients.