Psychology of pregnancy: this is how the mind of the pregnant woman changes

The branch of psychology that deals with pregnancy is the psychology of pregnancy, which seeks to promote the well-being of the mother during pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium, as well as the psycho-emotional development of the baby.

The psychology of pregnancy is concerned with the mother-baby relationship, Understood as a unit where the mental health of the mother is closely linked to the health of the child. It seeks, therefore, to promote the well-being of Mother’s Day and Babies, which also includes the father, especially in his role of emotional support of the mother. Let’s see what this interesting branch of psychology is and what it studies.

The story of the nine months leading up to human birth is probably much more interesting and contains more memorable events than the next 70 years. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1840.

    The importance of pregnancy psychology

    From the physical design, and even beforeWhen the unborn baby is conceived in the minds of his parents, a process of transformation of his psyche begins, mainly of the woman, which will accelerate during the pregnancy, and consolidate during the months and years following the birth. delivery.

    Pregnancy is conceived as a time of crisis from which the pregnant woman will develop a new identity: she will become a mother. During this period, it is common to revisit one’s own childhood, memories easily arise.

    The same goes for injuries from the past, making pregnancy a special time for psychotherapeutic work, because these injuries, which sometimes weigh on life for years, can heal much faster.

    It is a time of increasing sensitivity, and great vulnerability, for them to acquire vital importance. the care provided by the immediate environment, the couple and the family, As well as by professionals in the health system.

    emotional ambivalence

    During pregnancy, they are frequent and quite normal, occasional depressive feelings. There is usually an emotional ambivalence, that is, the coexistence of alternating moments of great joy and happy anticipation, with others of fears and doubts about whether the right decision has been made, whether now is the right time to interrupt the career, or whether she will be able to take responsibility for motherhood.

    Although these mixed feelings are normal, special attention should be paid to mood during pregnancy, and in the face of persistent negative emotions, seek psychological help.

    Psychological alterations during pregnancy

    Several studies show a high prevalence of depressive episodes during pregnancy. Some speak about 10%, while others find that up to 40% of pregnant women suffer from some form of depressive symptom.

    Although postpartum depression is better known, about half of postpartum depression begins during pregnancy. That is why taking care of the mental health of a woman during this period is also highly recommended from the point of view of preventing future disorders, since it has a positive effect on the well-being of the mother-baby day during the first few months.

    These four questions can serve as a first guide to detect possible difficulties. Although it should be borne in mind that each case is unique and full of nuances, if you respond positively to any of them, it would be advisable to deepen the psychological assessment of your case:

    • How often have you felt depressed, depressed or hopeless? • You have often heard that you lost the interest and the fun of doing things? • Have you often felt nervous, anxious or overwhelmed? • You felt unable to control or stop worries?

    Neuroscience of pregnancy

    If we consider the findings of neuroscience and deep science the transformation process in your brain caused by the action of hormonesIt is not surprising that in the mind of the pregnant woman there is a real emotional tsunami.

    For starters, it has been found that the brain during pregnancy reduces its volume by up to 7%. Does this mean that we lose cognitive abilities during pregnancy? If this were the case, nature would behave in a very abnormal way.

    On the other hand, what is happening is intense brain restructuring, Similar to that which takes place during puberty. In fact, during adolescence and pregnancy there is a similar synaptic size associated with the intense crisis of life and the identity change that both moments of life involve.

    It has been shown to increase the size of the pineal gland and gray matter in areas of the brain related to maternal behaviors. In other words, with empathy, And theory of mind, which is the ability to understand what the other person is feeling.

    The change is so significant that by comparing the brain image of a pregnant woman to that of another woman who is not pregnant, an expert in the field can say with 100% certainty which of the two is. each picture. The changes are clear and obvious, and can be seen with the naked eye.

    Some pregnant women they perceive a decrease in memory and the ability to concentrate and pay attention. However, studies seem to indicate that what happens instead is a shift in attentional focus. The baby and its care, since it is in the womb, monopolizes the attention of the woman, who during this period may forget more often, for example, where she left the keys.

    Apparently, not only is there no cognitive deficit, but we know that the interaction with the baby is able to create new neurons in the mother’s brain. So, given the intense nature of the changes in a pregnant woman’s brain and psyche, which will lead her to develop her identity as a mother, it is vitally important to focus on emotional care during the pregnancy. Not to mention that the well-being of the mother is also a source of health, present and future, for her child.

    To learn more …

    In Advance Psychologists, a workshop is given on the psychology of pregnancy, intended for pregnant women who wish to deepen this subject, To experience your pregnancy and face childbirth in a positive way. If you are interested, you can register at the following link: https://www.avancepsicologos.com/taller-de-psicologia-del-embarazo/

    • Article written by Sandra de el Bosc Andréspsychologist Advanced psychologists

    Author: Sandra de el Bosc Andreu.

    Bibliographical references:

    • Hoekzema, E .; Barba-Müller, E., Pozzobon, C .; Picado, M., Lucco, F., García-García, D., Soliva, JC; Tobeña, A .; Desco, M .; Crone, EA, Ballesteros, A., Carmona, S., Vilarroya, O. (2016). “Pregnancy involves lasting changes in the structure of the human brain.” Nature Rev. Neuropcience.
    • Joan Raphael-Leff. (2010). Healthy maternal ambivalence. Kindergarten studies 2 (1).

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