Couple celebrating pregnancy

Unplanned pregnancies can be tough. It deviates from the “original plan”. It may have something to do with the timing of the pregnancy, current financial status or just the current general condition (e.g. pregnancy during the “new normal”). Whether it’s your first time being pregnant or not, it is always good to be mentally prepared for an unexpected pregnancy.

Below are some tips on how you can mentally prepare for an unplanned pregnancy:

Be kind to yourself

Engaging in a lot of positive self-talk can do wonders for your mental health and well-being during this period of unexpected pregnancy. It can affirm you and lift up your moods, especially if you’re feeling anxious and worried about your unplanned pregnancy. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Engage in activities like meditation to give yourself a positive boost when the unexpected pregnancy is becoming too difficult.1

Stock up on emotional support

As your body gets used with pregnancy, the changes will not only be physical but emotional as well. As the hormones progesterone and estrogen levels rise in your body, so will some side effects such as “morning sickness” and mood swings.2 Don’t be so hard on yourself if you feel other emotions aside from excitement and happiness. It is quite common to feel worried and anxious.

Reach out to other people who you think can provide you with the emotional support that you need. This can be a partner, a husband, parents, siblings and friends who will be happy and willing to be with you during this time of emotional need. Ask for help when you feel you need to and don’t handle everything on your own. This part of the process might take a toll on your mental and physical health. When you need professional support when it comes to dealing with your emotions, seek the guidance of your doctor who might be able to help too.

You can also explore being a member of pregnancy support groups in your area or via social media. It might help you feel better knowing that other women are going through an unexpected pregnancy like yourself. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else is in your situation too can ease feelings of anxiety and worry, especially if it's during an unplanned pregnancy. You might even pick up a helpful tip or two from these women on how to deal with these kinds of situations.3

Eat healthy

As the saying goes, “you are what you eat”, and if you eat healthy, then it follows that you will be healthy as well. A pregnant woman’s body goes through a lot of physical changes. The body requires a healthy amount of food and weight to sustain and support all these changes. It’s always beneficial to prioritize your health. Remember to also consume food that will be good for both your changing body and pregnancy.

Caloric requirements differ from one pregnancy to another. Check with your doctor just how much food you should be eating. The types of food that are most appropriate and can provide the most nutritive support to your changing body.4

It is recommended for pregnant women from the start of pregnancy up to at least 12 weeks to take 400 microgram supplements of folic acid every day.5 For women who have pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it would be best to keep in contact with your doctor. This is because your pregnancy diet may be a little different from the amount and kind of food that you normally consume.

An unplanned pregnancy may be a cause of stress and anxiety for many, especially living and being pregnant under the circumstances of the “new normal”. But if you have the right tools and mindset, it can also be an enjoyable and exciting journey towards self-discovery.

 

REFERENCES:

1. Positive affirmations and mantras for your pregnancy (2015). Retrieved August 2, 2020 from:
https://www.lamaze.org/Giving-Birth-with-Confidence/GBWC-Post/positive-affirmations-and-mantras-for-your-pregnancy

2. Emotions during pregnancy (2019). Retrieved August 2, 2020 from:
https://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/how-you-might-be-feeling/emotions-during-pregnancy#:~:text=Apart%20from%20the%20morning%20sickness,experience%20them%20throughout%20their%20pregnancy.

3. Feelings, relationships and pregnancy (2020). Retrieved August 2, 2020 from:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/feelings-worries-relationships-pregnant/

4. Nutrition during pregnancy (2012). Retrieved August 2, 2020 from:
http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/nutrition-during-pregnancy/

5. Planning your pregnancy (2020). Retrieved August 2, 2020 from:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/planning-pregnancy/