Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” (commonly just referred to as “therapy”) is an effective way pregnant people can increase mental and emotional wellbeing and confidence during pregnancy, as well as reduce fears and anxiety about childbirth and parenting. If you’re pregnant, consider the following tips and information about beginning therapy during your pregnancy.
Therapy is for anyone, anytime – You don’t have to be experiencing difficulty or extreme distress to engage with and benefit from therapy. Oftentimes, people learn through therapy how to change/improve things in their lives that were causing stress that they didn’t even recognize! Plus, finding a therapist when things in your life are going smoothly helps set you up for success when life is more challenging. Be proactive — research, interview, and select a therapist now, even if you don’t feel a strong “need” for therapy. You may be surprised with the positive shifts you experience from working with a good therapist.
Things therapy helps with – Unsure how therapy could benefit you? Here is an incomplete list of some of the real-life issues and concerns therapy helps you improve and learn to better cope with:
- Emotional distress over pregnancy, relationship, parenthood, etc.
- Marital / relationship conflicts
- Coping with pregnancy-related health and physical challenges
- Fear of childbirth
- Family conflict
Finding a therapist – One of the reasons people give for why they don’t see a therapist is the difficulty in finding one (real or perceived). Sometimes, it’s a matter of knowing where to start and where to go next if the first avenue is a dead end. Find a therapist through:
- Your health care provider directory
- Your primary care or prenatal care provider
- Referrals from people in your circle
- Search psychologist directories like APA, NRHSP, or Psychology Today
When contacting a therapist, first ask if they’re taking new clients. If they are, set up a time to talk or email them with questions about your concerns to find out more about their experience and if it matches what you want/need. The American Psychological Association offers tips for specific questions.
How often to see your therapist – Most people, especially when they’re just starting therapy treatment, find it most beneficial to see their therapist once a week. After an initial period of weekly sessions, you may choose to schedule sessions more spaced out, like once every other week, every two weeks, or once a month. How often you see your therapist is ultimately up to you. If the issues you’re experiencing are intense and/or complex, you may choose to see your therapist more frequently.