Your mental wellbeing during and after pregnancy

Pregnancy and the postnatal period after your baby is born (both known as the perinatal period) are often talked about as the happiest time in a woman’s life. This can cause pressure, leading to feeling that you should or ought to feel ‘happy’. But sometimes it doesn’t always feel that way! Why is this?

There are lots of changes that come with pregnancy – physical changes, changes in hormones, changes in relationships and social groups – all of which can affect you differently. Some women might ‘breeze through’ pregnancy, but others might find the changes in their body difficult to cope with, might suffer from sickness, sometimes even prolonged sickness (hyperemesis), or they or their baby may have other health concerns, and this can make coping with pregnancy harder and can affect how you feel, your emotions, your mood.

There may also be other source of stress or distress due to previous pregnancy losses, or difficult or traumatic previous births and a new pregnancy can trigger some upsetting feelings relating to these experiences. Becoming a parent is one of the biggest challenges we face, and some highs and lows are to be expected. But sometimes these more complicated feelings of fear, anxiety or low mood can interfere with enjoyment of pregnancy or birth.

Emotional wellbeing, or mental health, is just as important as physical health. If you are currently struggling with a low mood or anxiety, have a diagnosis of a mental health difficulty, or have had difficulties in the past, please consider using this leaflet to access more support. At the back is a wellbeing plan that can be used to explore some of the difficulties you may be facing and what kind of support might be helpful to you.

Our specialist Mental Health Midwife, Suzie, has written and recorded free specialised mindfulness clips to ease anxiety during pregnancy. Click here to access these.

Pregnancy and postnatal mental wellbeing leaflet Sussex and East Surrey IAPT Infomation Leaflet Managing your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Video: Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust