Looking after your emotional wellbeing


Pregnancy and childbirth are big life events, and it is natural to feel some emotional changes during this period.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can contribute to giving you this mix of emotional highs and lows, especially in the first three months.

Most women have good mental health during their pregnancy, though some find it harder to manage. Changes in mental health are common. 1 in 5 women and birthing people experience mental health issues during pregnancy, birth or as new parents.

Whether your pregnancy was planned or unplanned, it’s natural to have mixed emotions about it. You may swing from excited to worried, or happy to sad and back again.

What emotions are normal?

Being pregnant and becoming a parent:

  • is an enormous change.
  • takes time to get used to.
  • brings enormous differences, from work and social life to relationships and finances.

You might worry about:

  • how you’ll cope.
  • whether you’ll be a good enough parent.
  • labour and giving birth.
  • feeling alone or unsupported.
  • bonding with your baby.

You can watch this short video to understand more about mental health in pregnancy and beyond. It is available in 20 different languages.

Perinatal Positivity Film – Perinatal Positivity

How can I look after my mental health?

Things you can try to help with your mental health in pregnancy and beyond:

  • Talk about how you are feeling with those closest to you.
  • You can seek support from your GP, midwife or health visitor.
  • Keep active. Calming exercise such as yoga can help you relax.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Consider practicing mindfulness. What is mindfulness? – Mind
  • Try to find time for yourself to do things you enjoy.
  • Ask for help with things such as household tasks and childcare.
  • Be kind to yourself and try not to compare yourself to others.
  • Rest when you need to. Tiredness and sleep problems – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  • 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.

You can find more tips here: Wellbeing tips | Tommy’s (tommys.org)

Where can I get support?

NHS Wellbeing Services offer a range of free and confidential talking therapies.

You can complete a self-referral online. A wellbeing practitioner will contact you to offer you an appointment.

They can provide specialist support to help you feel better.  This includes video consultation, group therapies, or one-to-one sessions. The support is personalised according to your psychological needs.

If you or your midwife think you need more specialist support, we can refer you to the Perinatal Mental Health team.  To find out more about this team, speak to your midwife, GP or Health visitor.

I need emergency support

If you or someone else is in danger, call 999 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

If you need help urgently for your mental health, but it’s not an emergency, call 111 or contact one of the organisations below to get support straight away.

Crisis line

  • Southwest London (Merton, Wandsworth, Sutton, Kingston and Richmond) Mental Health Crisis Line on 0800 028 8000.
  • Surrey Mental Health Crisis Line 0800 915 4644.
  • Samaritans – call for free 116 123

Your mental health is as important as your physical health. You will not be wasting anyone’s time.

What is the Bridge Team?

The Bridge Team offers personalised plans and care for women and birthing people with moderate and severe mental illness.

During your booking appointment your midwife will ask questions about your emotional wellbeing.

We will ask your permission to share this information with the Bridge Team, your GP and Health Visitor. This is so they can support you if needed.

The mental health midwife cares for women who need additional support in pregnancy.

The team works closely with other mental health professionals to provide safe, personalised care.

Why is social connection important?

Having a supportive social network is essential for maintaining your wellbeing. It can help to reduce stress, depression and anxiety, improve physical health and reduce the risk of pregnancy and birth complications. Having support around you can help motivate you to  make healthy lifestyle changes.

There are many ways of forming new connections and friendships during pregnancy and as a new parent:

What is a wellbeing plan?

Having a plan can sometimes reduce some of your worries, as well as helping health care professionals understand your needs.

You will be invited by your midwife to discuss your birth plan around 36 weeks.  You might also want to consider making a wellbeing plan and put it in your handheld notes.

This might include what’s important to you, how you manage your emotions in certain situations, and who your key support people are.

What support is available for partners?

Support for partners of birthing people is available from different charities and agencies: 

NHS Wellbeing Services offer a range of free and confidential talking therapies.

You can complete a self-referral online. A wellbeing practitioner will contact you to offer you an appointment.

They can provide specialist support to help you feel better.  This includes video consultation, group therapies, or one-to-one sessions. The support is personalised according to your psychological needs.

If you’re not feeling okay, you can call the Samaritans at any time for free support

You’re probably helping a lot more than you think. Try to build up a clear idea about what you can do. Accept parts that you can’t do alone or things that you cannot change.

Information about mental health medication

The websites below provide reliable, evidence-based, and accurate information about use of medicines in pregnancy and if you are breastfeeding:

bumps – best use of medicine in pregnancy (medicinesinpregnancy.org)

Drugs in Breastmilk factsheets – The Breastfeeding Network

You can discuss any mental health medications you are taking or are considering starting with your GP or the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health team.


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