Your Emotional Wellbeing During Pregnancy

Home » Your Emotional Wellbeing » Your Emotional Wellbeing During Pregnancy

Expecting a baby can be a joyful and exciting time. However, it can be common to experience anxiety, depression or emotional distress. As many as one in four people experience emotional difficulties during pregnancy. This can happen to anyone.

Your First Appointment with Your Midwife

This is called the booking appointment.  The midwife will ask you questions about your mental and physical health so that they can find out whether you need any extra support. Everyone is asked these questions. Even if you don’t have a specific mental health issue, it’s a good idea to talk to the midwife if you’re feeling anxious, feel like you are isolated and/or do not have support.

Your midwife will ask you:

  • how you are feeling
  • whether you have or have ever had mental health difficulties
  • whether you have ever been treated by a specialist mental health service
  • whether a close relative has ever had severe mental illness during pregnancy or after birth

It’s important to be honest with the midwife about how you feel.

They won’t judge you, and they can help you get support or treatment if you need it. If the midwife thinks you need more support after talking to you, they will refer you to the most appropriate service for your needs such as talking therapies, a specialist midwife, specialist perinatal services or your GP.

During Your Pregnancy

If you have any of the symptoms below at any point, speak to your midwife or doctor as soon as possible. If you are unwell, they can arrange treatment to help.
  • Feeling low or anxious most of the time for more than two weeks
  • Losing interest in things you normally like
  • Having panic attacks
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Losing your appetite
  • Having unpleasant thoughts that keep coming back and you can’t control them
  • Finding yourself repeating an action (like washing, checking, counting) to feel better
  • Finding your thoughts are racing and you become extremely energetic and unnaturally happy
  • Feeling you are so afraid of giving birth that you don’t want to go through with it
  • Continual thoughts that you are an unfit parent or that you’re not attached to the baby
  • Thoughts about self-harm or suicide

You should also tell your midwife or doctor if you have, or have ever had, an eating disorder, as you may benefit from additional support to deal with your body’s changes through pregnancy and beyond.

Tips for Improving your Mental Wellbeing in Pregnancy

If you have any of the symptoms below at any point, speak to your midwife or doctor as soon as possible. If you are unwell, they can arrange treatment to help.

Exercise and Eat Well

Swimming, walking, running, dancing, yoga – whatever works for you – keep doing it through pregnancy. Exercise gives you a chance to focus on something different and is great for you and your baby’s health. Exercise creates a surge of endorphins – your happy hormones – which can help you feel good and sleep better. Good nutrition will keep you healthy and help your baby grow and develop.

Take Time Out For Yourself Every Day

Do something you enjoy that’s just for you: take a warm bath, chill out to some music, close your eyes, massage your bump – whatever makes you feel peaceful. Doing this will also help your baby’s brain to develop.

Meditation, Breathing Techniques or Hypnobirthing

Many women find meditation and breathing techniques not only help them to relax in pregnancy but can also help to manage pain in labour. Ask your midwife what classes are available at your maternity unit.

Talk to Someone You Trust

Getting things off your chest and talking your worries through with an understanding and trustworthy friend, family member or colleague at work can make all the difference. Talk about how you’re feeling.

Ask for Practical Help From Family or Friends

If you’re struggling to cope physically or emotionally with your pregnancy – get some help. Whether it’s help with housework, or shopping, or childcare if you have other children. Try not to exhaust yourself and rest when you need to. If you do not have a close, supportive relationship, talk to your midwife about how you feel.

Develop a Wellbeing Plan

You can download and work on a two-page personal plan, which helps you to think about your emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and after birth.

Consider Talking Therapies

Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone that doesn’t know you. It can be a space to voice all your worries and try to make sense or control some of the negative thoughts you might be having. Talking therapy services can provide support to those experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. Priority is given to those who are pregnant  and to new parents. You can either self-refer over the phone or online or ask your midwife or GP to do it for you. The service is free and aims to be flexible around your needs.

Here are some talking therapies services:

    When to Get Help

    If these tips don’t help you, and you feel low or worried for more than two weeks, it may be something more serious. The good news is that you can get help to feel better. Talk to your midwife or doctor about your options and where you might get support.

    If you need more support, visit the where to find support page


    Verity’s Story

    Verity shares her story of becoming unwell with depression during pregnancy, interacting with mental health services and being diagnosed as autistic. She reflects on what she has learnt about herself and discusses the strengths and challenges of being an autistic mum.

    Skip to content