Mental well-being during pregnancy- 9 Tips for First-Time Moms

Mental well-being during pregnancy- 9 Tips for First-Time Moms

By Guest Blogger Michelle Quill, Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

The importance of mental well-being during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of immense physical and emotional changes for women. As the body prepares to bring new life into the world, it is crucial to prioritize mental well-being alongside physical health. Mental health during pregnancy can have a significant impact on both the mother and the developing baby. Research has shown that stress, anxiety, and depression during pregnancy can lead to adverse outcomes such as preterm birth, low birth weight, and developmental difficulties. Therefore, it is essential for first-time moms to take proactive steps to maintain their mental well-being throughout this transformative journey.

Common mental health challenges during pregnancy

First-time moms may experience a range of mental health challenges during pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuations, physical discomfort, and the anticipation of becoming a mother can contribute to increased stress and anxiety levels. It is common for expectant mothers to feel overwhelmed, uncertain, or even fearful about the changes that lie ahead. Additionally, women with a history of mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, may be more susceptible to experiencing these challenges during pregnancy. Recognizing the common mental health challenges that first-time moms face is the first step towards addressing them effectively.

Understanding the hormonal changes during pregnancy and their impact on mental health

During pregnancy, the body undergoes significant hormonal changes that can affect mental well-being. The levels of estrogen and progesterone, two key hormones in pregnancy, increase dramatically. These hormonal fluctuations can impact neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, which play a crucial role in regulating mood. As a result, some women may experience mood swings, irritability, or feelings of sadness. It is important for first-time moms to understand that these changes are normal and temporary. By recognizing the influence of hormonal changes on mental health, expectant mothers can better navigate their emotional well-being.

Tips for managing stress and anxiety during pregnancy

Managing stress and anxiety is vital for maintaining mental well-being during pregnancy. Here are some tips to help first-time moms cope with these challenges:

  1. Practice relaxation techniques: Engaging in activities such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or prenatal yoga can promote relaxation and reduce stress levels.
  2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can contribute to overall well-being and help manage stress.
  3. Seek support from loved ones: Sharing your feelings and concerns with trusted family members or friends can provide emotional support and help alleviate anxiety.
  4. Educate yourself: Learning about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting can help reduce fear and anxiety by providing a sense of preparedness.
  5. Stay organized: Creating a schedule, making to-do lists, and preparing for the arrival of the baby can help reduce feelings of overwhelm and increase a sense of control.

By incorporating these strategies into their daily routine, first-time moms can effectively manage stress and anxiety, promoting a positive mental state during pregnancy.

The role of self-care in maintaining mental well-being

Self-care is crucial for maintaining mental well-being during pregnancy. Taking time for oneself allows expectant mothers to recharge, relax, and focus on their own needs. Here are some self-care practices that first-time moms can incorporate into their routine:

  1. Prioritize rest and relaxation: Getting enough sleep, taking naps, and indulging in activities that promote relaxation, such as reading or taking baths, can help reduce stress levels.
  2. Engage in activities you enjoy: Pursuing hobbies, spending time in nature, or engaging in creative outlets can provide a sense of joy and fulfillment, promoting positive mental well-being.
  3. Practice self-compassion: Acknowledge and accept your emotions, treating yourself with kindness and understanding. Remember that it is normal to have ups and downs during pregnancy.
  4. Nurture your body: Taking care of physical health, such as eating nutritious meals, staying hydrated, and engaging in gentle exercise, can contribute to a sense of well-being.

By making self-care a priority, first-time moms can better navigate the emotional rollercoaster of pregnancy and promote their mental well-being.

Building a support network during pregnancy

Building a support network is crucial for expectant mothers, especially first-time moms. Having a strong support system can provide emotional reassurance, practical assistance, and a sense of belonging. Here are some ways to build a support network during pregnancy:

  1. Connect with other expectant mothers: Joining prenatal classes or support groups allows first-time moms to connect with others who are going through similar experiences.
  2. Reach out to family and friends: Share your thoughts, concerns, and joys with loved ones. They can offer advice, lend a helping hand, or simply be there to listen.
  3. Consider professional support: Seeking guidance from healthcare providers, such as obstetricians, midwives, or therapists, can provide expert advice and support throughout the pregnancy journey.

By surrounding themselves with a supportive community, first-time moms can feel more confident, validated, and emotionally strong during their pregnancy.

Seeking professional help for mental health issues during pregnancy

If first-time moms are experiencing persistent or severe mental health challenges during pregnancy, seeking professional help is essential. Mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, should not be ignored or underestimated. Healthcare providers can offer appropriate interventions and support, tailored to the specific needs of expectant mothers. Therapeutic interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or medication, may be recommended depending on the severity of the mental health condition. Seeking professional help is a proactive step towards ensuring the well-being of both the mother and the baby.

Preparing for the emotional transition into motherhood

Transitioning into motherhood can be emotionally overwhelming for first-time moms. It is important to acknowledge and prepare for the emotional changes that come with becoming a mother. Here are some tips to help navigate this transition:

  1. Educate yourself: Read books or attend classes about the emotional aspects of motherhood. Understanding the emotional journey can help normalize the experience and reduce anxiety.
  2. Communicate with your partner: Share your expectations, fears, and hopes with your partner. Open and honest communication can strengthen the bond and provide emotional support.
  3. Seek guidance from experienced mothers: Connect with mothers who have been through the same experience. Their wisdom and advice can provide reassurance and guidance.

By acknowledging and preparing for the emotional transition into motherhood, first-time moms can navigate this phase with greater ease and confidence.

Postpartum mental health and the importance of ongoing support

The postpartum period is another critical time for mental health. Many women experience the “baby blues,” which include mood swings, tearfulness, and feelings of vulnerability, in the days following childbirth. However, some women may develop more severe mental health conditions, such as postpartum depression or anxiety. It is crucial for first-time moms to be aware of the signs and symptoms and seek support if needed. Ongoing support from healthcare providers, family, and friends is essential in promoting postpartum mental well-being.


Maintaining mental well-being during pregnancy is vital for the overall health and happiness of both expectant mothers and their babies. By understanding the common mental health challenges, managing stress and anxiety, practicing self-care, building a support network, seeking professional help if needed, and preparing for the emotional transition into motherhood, first-time moms can navigate this transformative journey with confidence and resilience. Remember, prioritizing mental well-being is not selfish but a necessary step towards ensuring a healthy and joyful pregnancy.

Resilience in Adolescence: Equipping Teen Girls for Today’s Unique Challenges

Resilience in Adolescence: Equipping Teen Girls for Today’s Unique Challenges


By Guest Blogger Dr. Hannah Yang

The teen years are not devoid of any challenges, but the barriers that modern adolescent girls face are very different from the ones faced by previous generations.

The rapid advancement of technology and social media expansion, though advantageous in various aspects, introduces new challenges. It’s imperative that young women develop a solid network of support and find proper coping mechanisms for addressing these new roadblocks in their lives.

Resilience and a positive perspective need to be developed at an early stage for them to form the foundation for a happy, healthy future.

Common Challenges on the Path to Adulthood for Adolescent Girls

In their transition to adulthood, young girls come across many challenges that are vital to their personal growth. Although each teen girl’s journey is unique, a considerable number share similar obstacles during this important transformative phase.

Dealing with Social Media and Other Pressures

Staying in touch with friends and family is crucial, and social media has facilitated this, especially over long distances. But there’s a catch to this constant connectivity.

Teen girls frequently face the challenge of upholding a certain image online, influenced by young celebrities and influencers, and the urge to match their peers. This can negatively affect their self-esteem and distort their self-image.

Coping with Academic Pressure from Peers and Family

Education is vital for the development of various life skills. However, the stress to excel in academics, often stemming from family and peer expectations, can be overwhelming. Comparing themselves to friends, parents, or siblings can feel like an uphill battle.

If left unaddressed, this added stress can adversely affect a young girl’s self-esteem, particularly if her achievements don’t meet these high expectations. It’s important for them to recognize that academic performance is not the only measure of intelligence or self-worth.

Feeling the Pressure to Conform

Despite the current generation often being seen as advocates for uniqueness and individualism, the pressure to conform remains a significant issue for many teenage girls. Fitting in with a group can offer a sense of security and belonging, which is an important aspect of social development.

But this urge to blend in can lead girls to compromise their principles and values. This might take the form of drastically altering their appearance or adopting harmful habits to gain acceptance within certain social circles.

The Importance of Resilience in Navigating Teenage Challenges

Teen girls often depend on their network of friends and family for support, which provides a strong base. However, the real tests often arise when they’re alone. This situation highlights the need for resilience.

Resilience involves more than just recovery – it’s about gaining insight from new challenges and applying this knowledge to reinforce personal character and resolve.

Overcoming Adversity

During their teenage years, young girls face various trials, from coping with rejection and failures to enduring traumatic events. Without effective strategies to manage these situations, they can leave lasting impacts, shaping a young woman’s self-esteem and future relationships.

Building resilience, possibly with the help of family or professional support, equips teens with the necessary tools to confront these challenges and grow stronger from them.

Learning From Setbacks

Resilience can be illustrated with the famous phrase, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” This technique allows you to find opportunities for learning from challenges experienced and use them for personal development.

The process of gaining insights from tough experiences can be something more than one person experiences. Teaming up with a mentor, joining support circles, or seeking advice from mental health experts in dealing with anxiety or trauma therapy can provide clinical perspectives and much-needed support through difficult times.

Encouraging Thoughtful Decision Making

As adolescents, the feeling of invincibility and a belief in having all the answers is a natural phase. However, this attitude, combined with inexperience, often results in teens making hasty choices with lasting effects.

Building resilience is important in this regard, as it promotes proactive thinking instead of reactionary decision-making. Adolescents learning resilience are more likely to think about the long-term ramifications of their actions, weighing benefits and drawbacks thoughtfully, helping them to make smarter choices.

Develop Better Resilience Today

Cultivating resilience is a continuous process, not a one-time achievement. It requires consistent effort and commitment to establish this quality in individuals. The rewards, however, can be immense and lead to better coping mechanisms, increased self-awareness, and improved relationships.


Author Name: Dr. Hannah Yang

Author Bio: Visionary and healthcare entrepreneur by passion, Licensed Psychologist by training, Dr. Hannah Yang loves creating new possibilities in the world of mental health and wellness. Dr. Yang established Balanced Awakening in 2015 as a niche psychotherapy practice for women. As Balanced Awakening flourishes in Chicago, and soon Miami, she also loves to tap into her passion for design and Feng Shui to create fabulous environments for herself, her team, and clients.

International Day of Education at the Guidance Center

International Day of Education at the Guidance Center


January 24, 2024, Manhasset – To celebrate International Day of Education, MTO Shahmaghsoudi School of Islamic Sufism rallied the community to donate art and early learning supplies for the children of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center. Dozens of gift bags were donated and distributed to the young clients of the Guidance Center’s Manhasset location, the Marks Family Right from the Start Center 0-3+, providing an outlet for kids to use art and creativity as a way to strengthen their mental well-being.

“The donation represents our collective effort to come together and spread the message of peace, love, and hope,” said MTO volunteer Ellica Sedigh. “MTO Professor Nader Angha, the current Sufi Master, has said that “hope is a planted seed in fertile ground that bears fruit.” Through these gift bags we symbolize the act of planting seeds of hope for children facing mental health challenges.”

Dr. Sue Cohen, the Director of Clinical Services at the Marks Family Right from the Start Center 0-3+, shared that the gift bags were greatly appreciated by the Guidance Center’s clients and their parents. “The goodies in the bags align with the work that we do on finding appropriate activities to use as coping mechanisms and grounding skills,” she said.

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, a longtime supporter of both North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center and MTO Shahmaghsoudi, stated “Mental health is something I have worked to promote and educate about for many years. MTO and the Guidance Center both share a devotion to mental health and finding balance in positive ways through serving and educating the community.”

About Us:

As the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is dedicated to restoring and strengthening the emotional well-being of children (from birth – age 24) and their families. Our highly trained staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, vocational rehabilitation counselors and other mental health professionals lead the way in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, training, parent education, research, and advocacy. The Guidance Center helps children and families address issues such as depression and anxiety; developmental delays; bullying; teen pregnancy; sexual abuse; teen drug and alcohol abuse; and family crises stemming from illness, death, trauma, and divorce. For nearly 70 years, the Guidance Center has been a place of hope and healing, providing innovative and compassionate treatment to all who enter our doors, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information about the Guidance Center, visit or call (516) 626-1971.

Making a Splash at The Guidance Center

Making a Splash at The Guidance Center


Published in Blank Slate Media on January 24th, 2024

The walls of North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center look a lot brighter thanks to the wonderful murals donated by Splashes of Hope. The nonprofit organization, dedicated to transforming environments “from clinical to colorful,” paid a visit to The

Leed’s Place — Serving Young People on December 20th with the intention of bringing warmth and cheer to the space. The Leed’s Place is home to a variety of specialized services benefiting the youth of Nassau County, including programs for pregnant & parenting teens and adolescents struggling with alcohol & substance dependency. Clients are now greeted by an expansive mural depicting “A Sea of Possibilities,” instilling hope in all who walk through the doors.

“Splashes of Hope has transformed our waiting areas into a welcoming, eye-catching, and positive environment for our patients and staff,” says Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, Director of The Leed’s Place. “It’s exciting to see children and their families closely examining the custom mural, pointing out the various details they find interesting and exciting. The art has brought an exciting new life to The Leeds Place.”

“After meeting the staff at North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center and learning about their mission, we measured and assessed The Leeds Place and couldn’t wait to make a ‘splash’,” said Heather J. Buggee, Founder and CEO of Splashes of Hope. “To serve as a reflection of the positive energy, care and concern this staff exemplifies, Splashes of Hope created uplifting, thoughtful murals and focal points for families who enter North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center. We are grateful to have this important resource for children and families in crisis. Our intention is for the artwork to transform the space into a welcoming and uplifting environment.”

Laurence W. Levine Foundation, a longtime supporter of Splashes of Hope’s work, made the beautification of The Leed’s Place possible. “The Levine Foundation is well aware of the importance of mental health awareness and treatment for children and their families,” said Lesley Logue, a Director of the Levine Foundation. “Splashes of Hope transcends a once-dull space into a peaceful, calming backdrop to elicit a therapeutic response in a place like the Guidance Center. The designs, artistry and colors used can transform not only the walls, but the whole process for everyone who enters! Our hope is to continue supporting Heather and all of Splashes of Hope as they bring comfort to those who are facing difficult times, splashing away some of the darkness by bringing more color to their lives.”

Thank you so much to Laurence W. Levine Foundation and Splashes of Hope for making this special project a reality!

Photo: Lauren McGowan, Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, Jim Knapp, Kathy Rivera

Click here to read the article.

Unwrapping the Post-Holiday Blues in Moms

Unwrapping the Post-Holiday Blues in Moms

While the holidays are synonymous with joy, togetherness, and celebration, the period that follows can prove to be anything but. As the boxes of decorations are moved back into the attic, it’s not uncommon for complex emotions to take over. The phenomenon known as “post-holiday blues” takes place when the chaos of the holidays has come to an end, leaving behind feelings of emptiness, anxiety, and frustration. This slump can have particular effects on mothers, who often take the lead on holiday planning and are therefore more susceptible to the highs and lows of the holiday season and beyond.

The post-holiday blues share many characteristics of anxiety and mood disorders. Sadness, loneliness, anxiety, insomnia, and disappointment are common traits, and are often confined to the winter months.

Emotional labor, expectations, and repression

Mothers often bear the brunt of emotional labor during the holidays. According to research done by the American Psychological Association, women are more likely than men to report an increase of stress during the holiday season, citing lack of time, lack of money, and pressure to give presents as primary stressors. The pressure to buy the perfect gifts, decorate the home, and prepare elaborate meals can be emotionally taxing, and mothers will frequently spend weeks planning, organizing, and ensuring that everyone in the family has a memorable and magical experience.

Social media has contributed to an unrealistic set of expectations surrounding the holiday season. As we scroll through countless posts of elaborately decorated houses and piles of perfectly wrapped presents, it’s easy to find ourselves comparing our holiday celebrations to those of others. Many mothers feel responsible to create a picture-perfect holiday atmosphere for their families, and often face a sense of letdown if they fail to meet these expectations.

The period of Thanksgiving through New Year’s is a chaotic time, and busy parents frequently spend every spare moment focused preparing for celebrations. With so much time and energy focused on others, it is easy to neglect your own mental wellbeing, pushing any negative emotions aside in order to focus on the long list of things that need to get done. January brings time to catch your breath and reflect, leading to weeks of emotions bubbling to the surface. These repressed feelings will be difficult to handle all at once, and will result feeling overwhelmed and burned out.

Manage the post-holiday blues

The post-holiday blues don’t have to be inevitable. Be sure to set boundaries with family and friends in order to avoid stretching yourself too thin, and reach out for help before you begin to feel overwhelmed. If symptoms have already set in, take time to yourself and focus on self-care. Prioritizing things that make you happy are key in escaping the feelings of loneliness and isolation that are all too frequently associated with the winter months. Focus on eating well, exercising, and staying mentally stimulated. Most importantly, be gentle with yourself and remember that, even if the holidays didn’t go as planned, you are still a great mother.

If you are a new mom and worried about how you are feeling, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Contact the North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center at (516) 626-1971 to get the necessary support you need.