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How to manage your mental wellbeing during pregnancy

How to manage your mental wellbeing during pregnancy

Leading pregnancy charity Tommy’s has a team of midwives that provide support and advice to parents during pregnancy. We asked Tommy’s Midwife, Alicia Burnett @midwife_alicia for advice on looking after your mental wellbeing during pregnancy, as well as how to get extra support if you need it.

Is it normal if I don’t always feel happy or excited about my pregnancy?

‘It’s natural to have periods of feeling worried or low when you’re pregnant. Your body will be changing every month, and pregnancy hormones can affect your mood, especially in the first 3 months. Your life is about to change completely, and it can take time to understand this. But it’s really important to ask for help if you’re feeling low all the time or you feel like you can’t cope.

‘Pregnancy can be a very emotional time and it can sometimes be difficult to know whether your feelings are normal or a sign of something more serious. Trust yourself. You are the best judge of whether your feelings are normal for you.

‘Mental health problems such as low mood, anxiety and depression in pregnancy are common. Up to 1 in 5 women develop them during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth.

What happens if I ask for help with my mental wellbeing in my pregnancy?

'You won’t be judged for how you feel. Your midwife, doctor or health visitor know that mental health conditions are more likely during pregnancy. They will help you stay well so you can look after yourself and your baby.

‘If you aren’t happy with how your midwife, doctor or health visitor responds to what you tell them, or you feel like they are not listening to you, don’t be afraid to ask to see a different health professional or to be referred to your local Perinatal Mental Health team.

What can I do to improve my mental wellbeing during my pregnancy?

‘Connecting with others is a great way to look after your mental health so keep in touch with friends and family members. If you don’t live near friends or family, join local antenatal classes or groups and meet other parents-to-be. You could set up a WhatsApp group so you can arrange meet-ups. ‘

‘Exercising such as running, swimming or dancing can help with anxiety and depression. It doesn’t need to be a class or a paid activity. Slower-paced activities like walking can also be helpful.

‘Doing something that you enjoy that’s just for you can really help you relax. Chill out to some music, close your eyes, gently massage your bump – do what makes you feel peaceful. If you’re finding it difficult to relax your mind, try mindfulness, meditation or pregnancy yoga.

‘Learning new things and setting goals can also help you feel good. Pregnancy is a time of learning for all women and birthing people. Look for books, blogs, podcasts or social media accounts of those going through the same as you. Ask friends, family members and groups for their recommendations. Or why not try journaling, writing down your thoughts, feelings and hopes. It might be nice to look back at your journal when your baby has arrived.

‘Make sure you take time to relax too. Enjoy a long soak in the bath and take time to nap if you want to – you've earned it!’

Is there anyone else I can contact for help?

‘And remember…Tommy’s is here to help.

The Tommy’s Midwives’ Helpline is a freephone line open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, staffed by our specialist team of midwives, including myself. The Helpline is for anyone who needs advice and support on pregnancy, planning for pregnancy or pregnancy loss, including mental health. Call 0800 0147 800 or email [email protected].

Join the community of families helping to make pregnancy and birth safe – for everyone.  

Will you donate £5 and help a Tommy’s midwife be there for every mum?

Whatever you’re able to give, you can help fund Tommy’s pregnancy research and care. We’d like to invite you to be a part of giving hope and support to other parents on their journey to growing a family.

Tommy’s is a registered charity in England and Wales (1060508) and Scotland (SC039280).

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