We rarely speak about reproductive health connection to mental health but we should. Changing hormones before, during and after pregnancy can cause mental health conditions such as triggering relapse, causing depression. Women with mental health conditions are also at higher risk of problems during pregnancy.
At Ninti we believe that it is imperative to name these moments. It is by naming and acknowledging the impact that these very specific life moments have on women’s mental health that we will support women’s reproductive mental health.
WOMEN’S HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH OVERLAPS IN SO MANY WAYS. SEE HOW BELOW:
Mental health and becoming pregnant after multiple losses
One in 6 women who suffer pregnancy loss experience long-term symptoms of Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Pregnancy after loss support can be lonely, isolating, overwhelming
As a mom pregnant after a loss you don’t quite fit into the loss groups anymore, but you also don’t feel like you fit in the “normal” pregnancy community and this can have great impact on your mental health.
Mental health conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.
Pregnancy and the birth of a child can be a joyous and exciting time, but some women may struggle with their mental health as they transition to motherhood. Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder may surface during or after pregnancy.
Mental health and abortion
Abortion, the medical or surgical termination of a pregnancy, is one of the oldest, most common, and most controversial medical procedures. When going through it can have great impact on the person’s mental health.
Research shows people who are denied abortions are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction, and lower self-esteem compared with those who are able to obtain abortions.
AbortInfo offers ressources and a possibility to chat with a health professional for guidance and ressources.
Mental health consequences of miscarriage
For some people, pregnancy loss may be part of what causes a mental health problem – or makes one worse. When going through a miscarriage many women can experience negative thoughts, worrying, loneliness, flashbacks, panic attacks, suicidal feelings etc..
This is a list of blogs and social accounts from people who have suffered pregnancy loss/es or preterm birth.
Menopause and depression
The menopause is a natural biological process. Put simply, the menopause is when you stop having periods and are no longer able to get pregnant naturally. It happens when your ovaries age and naturally produce lower levels of reproductive hormones.
Eight out of ten women have symptoms in addition to their periods stopping. Some of the symptoms can include:
- hot flushes – short, sudden bursts of heat that can leave your skin sweaty and red
- night sweats – hot flushes that occur at night
- sleep problems
- mood swings
- brain fog, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
- loss of interest in sex
- changing hormone levels can cause mood swings, low mood and anxiety around menopause. For some women, these are the first signs that they are approaching menopause.
- Here is a great article to explore more on menopause and mental health.
Mental health and Infertility and assisted reproduction
Infertility is perceived as a problem across virtually all cultures and societies and affects an estimated 10%-15% of couples of reproductive age. In recent years, the number of couples seeking treatment for infertility has dramatically increased
While many couples presenting for infertility treatment have high levels of psychological distress associated with infertility, the process of assisted reproduction itself is also associated with increased levels of anxiety, depression and stress
Mental health and female genital mutilation
FGM refers to the process of partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical purposes
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimating about 200 million women and girls have undergone the procedure.
Trauma stems from both the mutilation/cutting itself as well as having to recount the experience to others. When doctors react with shock or disgust when discovering a woman’s FGM/C, women can feel afraid, embarrassed, and stressed. As a consequence, women may simply no longer be willing to discuss their FGM/C with their doctor.
We can keep going, endometriosis, pcos, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, pre-term birth, hormonal imbalance etc…our goal is to emphasize how women’s mental health is related to their reproductive health and different life stages. We need to collectively be aware of it and design systems that better support women.
What are you doing to support your female employees?