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How Midwives Help Mental Health Through Pregnancy

Close-up of a pregnant woman during medical visit

At City of Oaks Midwifery, our certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are dedicated to serving our patients by utilizing the very best, evidence-based models of wellness care, which includes individualized and holistic birth experiences. Because we believe that pregnancy and birth are both natural processes rather than medical events, we know that for most women, a low to no intervention pregnancy and birth will have the best outcomes. We also believe that in order to have a healthy and happy pregnancy, the mother needs to feel healthy and happy. As nurse-midwives, we are here to help with every aspect of a woman’s pregnancy and birth, including caring for the mother’s mental health. Midwives are there to support a woman’s emotional health and wellbeing throughout every aspect of pregnancy.

Mental Health During and After Pregnancy

Due to fluctuating hormones and physical changes, it’s only natural to have moments where you aren’t feeling quite like yourself during pregnancy or even after birth. You might have feelings of worry, doubt or sadness. If these feelings creep in more often or you feel as though you can’t seem to shake these feelings, it is important to communicate how you are feeling with your midwife.

According to the Mayo Clinic, around 7% of women experience mental health problems such as depression or anxiety during pregnancy. And according to the CDC, 1 in 8 women struggle with symptoms of postpartum depression.

We know that no pregnancy is the same, just as no woman is the same. Expectant mothers or new mothers who might be struggling with their mental health should know that they can always reach out to their midwife or healthcare provider for help. There will never be any judgment or criticism in sharing how you feel. We know that mental health looks different for everyone and it can affect new or expectant mothers at any time. It is our job and responsibility to make sure you and your baby get the care needed, no matter what that looks like. 

When to Ask for Help

If you are feeling any of these signs or symptoms during or after pregnancy, it is important to start a conversation with your midwife to see how they can help care for you:

  • Extremely low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy about being a mother
  • Negative response to receiving reassurance
  • Negative response to receiving prenatal care
  • Excessive worrying or anxiety about your baby
  • Not experiencing joy from activities that were usually enjoyable
  • Decreased or inadequate food intake
  • Any thoughts of harming yourself or thoughts of suicide

It is also important to note that even if you aren’t experiencing one or more of these signs or symptoms but are not feeling right, trust your gut. Our midwives are here to help you navigate the ups and downs of pregnancy and new-mom life. 

Benefits of Midwife Care

In addition to your mental health and wellbeing, collaborative care between midwives and physicians has proven to overwhelmingly improve maternal-newborn outcomes. According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the benefits of receiving midwifery care include:

  • Decreased risk of needing a cesarean
  • Reduced rates of labor induction and augmentation
  • Reduced use of regional anesthesia
  • Decreased infant mortality rates
  • Decreased risk of preterm birth
  • Lower costs for both clients and insurers
  • Decreased third and fourth-degree perineal tears
  • Increased chances of having a positive start to breastfeeding
  • Increased satisfaction with quality of care

Because each of these benefits directly affects an expectant mother or new mother’s mental health, it is important to keep an open and honest dialogue with your midwife throughout pregnancy and postpartum care. 

Talk to A Midwife

At City of Oaks Midwifery, our certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are dedicated to a relational approach to pregnancy care. From the beginning, we will be there to support you and answer your questions to ensure your mental health is a priority. If you have any questions about mental health during or after pregnancy, we are here to help. Call (919) 351-8253 to make an appointment at our Raleigh, NC midwifery practice.

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