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Optimizing Maternal Mental Health: A Holistic Approach to Emotional Well-Being During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a magical time when a woman may actually experience an improvement in her health. A newly pregnant mama can feel a heightened sense of awareness and perception while feeling peaceful, excited, feminine, and/or glowing. On the flip side of this coin, there may also be some uninvited emotions that come knocking. Emotions such as fear, anxiety, not wanting to gain weight, feeling annoyed at being slowed down, not knowing what the future holds, or guilt for even having these negative emotions!

Whatever the emotion, all of them are valid. The journey through motherhood is both beautiful and transformative, and challenges that affect mental well-being should be taken seriously.

mom with camera holding hands with son

Factors such as hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, social support, and past experiences can all influence a mother's mental well-being. One study on "Postpartum Depression" found that "postpartum depression (PPD) affects up to 15% of mothers. Recent research has identified several psychosocial and biological risk factors for PPD," stating that "PPD is under-recognized and under-treated." Another study found that "The strongest risk factor for PPD is a history of mood or anxiety disorder, especially having active symptoms during pregnancy." Knowing these risk factors can help you get a jumpstart on optimizing some of the suggestions listed below. It’s never too early to start being proactive about your mental health.

So, let’s explore some more natural approaches to support emotional balance and resilience throughout this beautiful and challenging time of a mama’s life.

Nutritional support to help improve mood:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: think salmon, chia seeds, walnuts, spinach

  • Magnesium: think green vegetables, beans, peas, nuts

  • B vitamins: think poultry, tuna, shrimp, beef, lentils, seeds, nuts, avocados Lifestyle modifications to help foster meaningful social connections:

  • Getting adequate sleep (which isn’t always easy)

  • Regular exercise

  • Stress management such as meditation

Emotional support to create an environment where you feel heard:

  • Searching out and finding your “tribe”

  • Having someone you can connect with during difficult times

  • Joining support groups online

Nurturing maternal mental health is a multifaceted journey that requires addressing the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of well-being. As a naturopathic doctor, I am committed to supporting mothers on this journey, offering personalized care and empowering them with the tools and resources to cultivate resilience, find balance, and thrive in motherhood. Remember, seeking support is not a sign of weakness but a courageous step towards prioritizing your mental health and overall well-being.

At IVY Integrative, you can work with one practitioner or build your own team of holistic practitioners! Reach your optimum health in-person or online. Check out our Get Started page to learn how to work with us!


  1. Pearlstein T, Howard M, Salisbury A, Zlotnick C. Postpartum depression. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Apr;200(4):357-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2008.11.033. PMID: 19318144; PMCID: PMC3918890.

  2. Stewart DE, Vigod SN. Postpartum Depression: Pathophysiology, Treatment, and Emerging Therapeutics. Annu Rev Med. 2019 Jan 27;70:183-196. doi: 10.1146/annurev-med-041217-011106. PMID: 30691372.


This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.

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