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Self-care for mental illness during & after pregnancy

Tāu ake whakaora i te mate ā-hinengaro i te hapūtanga me i muri ake

A pregnant woman relaxing in bed with a book and a healthy breakfastIf you are feeling anxious or depressed during pregnancy or after your baby is born, there are many things you can do and people who can help you. The sooner you get help, the sooner you will get better.

Talk to your general practice team, midwife or lead maternity carer (LMC) about how you are feeling. They can talk to you about treatment options.

Read below for some ways you can help yourself cope with how you are feeling.

Learn more about mental illness during and after pregnancy

Learn about what causes the illness, how it affects people and the different treatments that are available. This can help you feel more able to cope and less alone with the problem. These two resources are helpful:

Stay healthy

It will help if you eat healthy foods, avoid caffeine and alcohol and quit smoking. Keeping physically active can help too, and it does not have to be high intensity. Talk to your general practice team about Support for getting active.

Learn to relax and reduce stress

Relaxing more and reducing stress will improve your mood and energy levels.

Try these relaxation techniques to relieve muscle tension and help control your breathing.

Mindfulness may also be helpful. It is a mental discipline that helps connect you to the here and now and regain control. The Smiling Mind app is a free mindfulness meditation app.

Use helplines

There is always someone to talk to if you are struggling. All these phone services are free.

Reach out for support

Let whānau (family) and friends know how you are feeling and let then offer help. You may also like to join a local mother's support group.

  HealthInfo recommends the following apps

On the next page: Getting help for mental illness during & after pregnancy

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2024.


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