Skip to the content

Emotional wellness

Pregnancy can be a very stressful time and it is normal to feel some emotional changes during this period, particularly when you are undergoing hormonal changes related to pregnancy. Experiencing mental health difficulties can have a negative impact on your motivation which makes it even more difficult to seek help.



What do I need to know?

You are the most important person in your baby's life. It can be easy to forget about your own needs during your pregnancy and in the early months after birth because the main focus is on your baby. As these are the most vulnerable months of your baby's life, it is vital that you are as healthy as possible through this period.
Approximately 1 in 5 women experience depression, anxiety, or other emotional difficulties during this period. For some women, these may not be severe and don't last very long. For others, they become worse which can make it difficult to enjoy motherhood and get on with life.
If you experience these difficulties, it is essential that you are given the right type of support as soon as possible. There are a range of different treatments and services available to help with your recovery.



How likely am I to experience other difficulties?

Mental health difficulties during pregnancy and in the months after giving birth can happen to anyone - regardless of background, age, race life circumstances or past history. In addition, hormonal changes during pregnancy and the postnatal period affect different women in different ways. One person may be able to come with these changes, whilst another person may find it more challenging.


There is no single cause why women (and men) develop mental health difficulties during this period. Some common contributing factors could be:

  • uncertainty about parenthood
  • physical complications in pregnancy
  • birth events which differ from parents expectations
  • feelings of disappointment if parenthood is not what you expected
  • changes in your relationships and social life
  • lack of sleep
  • lack of support from friends and/or family
  • other significant stressful events (eg loss of job; physical illness; relocation; relationship breakdown; bereavement, etc)

If you have experienced previous mental health problems, or if someone in your family has had mental health difficulties during pregnancy or after giving birth, you may be at increased risk.

Click on the links to find out more.

Antenatal depression Postnatal depression Anxiety and other difficulties Healthy relationships



Further sources of information

Local sources of help

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Service (IAPTS)

Mental Health Crisis Helplines

Tel: 0300 365 9999

Tel: 111

Tel: 111

Tel: 0300 456 8342