A Psychiatric disorder is any disturbance of your emotional equilibrium as manifested in maladaptive behavior and impaired functioning.
Obstetrics is a branch of medicine concerned with pregnancy, childbirth including the study of the female reproductive tract, and the care of the mother and the fetus throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the immediate postpartum period.
Healthy women experience marked psychological and emotional changes during pregnancy and especially after delivery.
There are variations in the range of emotional and behavioral changes in pregnancy; as a result, mothers should have a basic insight of psychiatric manifestations so that early interventions can be put in place to help her and her family to cope.
Cognitive and emotional reactions to pregnancy may change based on which trimester you are in, for example; in the first trimester, ambivalence is common. This is initial uncertainty about the time of pregnancy. Physical discomfort such as nausea, urinary frequency can be frustrating. Fear and uncertainty about herself and/or her partner’s role may also occur assisted by fantasies; what infant will look like, will there be any physical disabilities.
In the second trimester, a feeling of wellbeing exists as physical symptoms abate. Fear and anxiety lessen especially as fetal movements are felt. Self-introspection in this time is common also, as women begin to concentrate on her needs as well as those of the fetus. She becomes fascinated with the pregnancy and has a good feeling about herself. Daydreaming and “nesting” behavior begins. Some women can exhibit mood swings and emotional liability which may be troublesome to others, extra emotional support and attention are needed at this time.
In the third trimester, physical discomforts return, like fatigue, frequency of urination, sleeplessness, and feeling of clumsiness. Psychological factors such as a feeling of awkwardness, fear for own wellbeing and performance during labor comes into play as well as contemplation of her assumption of maternal role. Many women want pregnancy to end now.
The above said manifestations are very commonly reported however they are not severe. They are even considered normal. In some pregnancies, cognitive and emotional reactions may escalate into conditions that have to be treated with medications and possible hospitalization, like Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Psychosis.
I invite you to read about these conditions and more in our next posting.
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