Perinatal counseling can be a powerful tool in helping expecting parents to feel prepared and supported during this challenging and often overwhelming transition. As the name suggests, perinatal counseling focuses on the period before, during, and immediately after childbirth. It is provided by mental health professionals trained in supporting families through this challenging time.
If you are considering perinatal counseling for yourself or for someone you know, it is important to understand what to expect from these sessions. Here’s an overview of what a typical session may look like:
Evaluating Mental Health
During the first session, your counselor will ask about your emotional distress and normalize any feelings you currently have as well as those that may have been repressed because of societal stigma attached to them. They will also ask questions about your physical health, lifestyle habits such as sleep quality and exercise, relationships with family members and friends, stresses at work or in other areas of life, and any past medical history that may affect your current or upcoming experience with pregnancy or childbirth. The goal of this initial assessment is to provide a complete picture of where you’re at mentally and physically so that they can create a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.
Developing a Treatment Plan
After gathering information about you during the initial session, your counselor will offer advice and resources to address any mental health issues you may be facing such as stress-related depression or anxiety. This might include providing relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga exercises; recommending lifestyle changes such as healthy eating habits; referring you to other specialists if necessary; suggesting positive coping skills; providing education about childbirth practices; or recommending books on parenting topics that could help you feel more confident moving forward.
Relieving Stressful Feelings
The focus of perinatal counseling isn’t just on providing tools that can help manage symptoms–it’s also about building emotional resilience and finding ways to cope with difficult feelings associated with pregnancy such as fear or guilt surrounding labor pain management decisions. Your counselor can provide an open space where these feelings can be expressed without judgement in order for them to be safely dealt with so they don’t interfere negatively with your experience of becoming a parent.
In short, perinatal counseling provides supportive companionship throughout this transitional period–from early stages up until baby arrives home from the hospital–which can make all the difference in preparing for parenthood!
Emily Hammons, marketing director and tea latte aficionado, loves words and writing. When she's not blogging, you can find her perfecting her island on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, or curled up with a mystery novel.
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