Being pregnant is a big life event and it is natural to feel a lot of different emotions. But if you’re feeling sad and it’s starting to affect your life, there are things you can try that may help.
You are not alone
Support is available. If you need someone to talk to now contact your maternity unit or find out where to get urgent help for mental health.
Things you can try to help with your mental health
talk about your feelings to a friend, family member, doctor or midwife
try calming breathing exercises if you feel overwhelmed
do physical activity if you can – it can improve your mood and help you sleep
eat a healthy diet with regular meals
try to attend antenatal classes to meet other pregnant people
do not compare yourself to other pregnant people – everyone experiences pregnancy in different ways
do not be afraid to tell healthcare professionals how you are feeling – they are there to listen and support you
do not use alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to try and feel better – these can make you feel worse and affect your baby’s growth and wellbeing
Non-urgent advice: Speak to your midwife or a doctor if:
- things you’re trying yourself are not helping
They will offer you more support. They may offer you a referral to perinatal mental health services or other emotional support. Perinatal means the time you are pregnant and up to 12 months after giving birth.
The 2 types of treatment for mental health problems in pregnancy are talking therapies and medicine.
Talking therapies can help with common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression.
If you decide to take medicine while you are pregnant your doctor will explain how this may affect your baby. Try not to worry – you will be offered the safest medicine at the lowest amount that will still work.
Mental health problems
There are many mental health problems you could experience in pregnancy. They can happen at any time, even if this is not your first pregnancy.
|If you||You may have|
|feel sad all the time||depression|
|have flashbacks, nightmares or feel intense distress when reminded of a past experience||post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – this can happen if you had a pregnancy go wrong, a traumatic birth or have experienced abuse|
|have sudden attacks of panic or fear||panic disorder|
|have obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours||obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)|
|have an intense fear of giving birth||Tokophobia – Tommy’s has more information|
You may also find it hard to cope with your body changing shape, particularly if you have had an eating disorder.
- Tommy’s: mental health before, during and after pregnancy
- Mind: postnatal depression and perinatal mental health
- NICE: Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance has some question ideas which might help you talk to your GP or midwife
Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice
Get advice about looking after your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic: