Emotional changes in pregnancy

Pregnancy can be emotionally challenging, but there are things you can do to cope with any anxiety or stress.

Pregnancy is a time of change. This can affect your emotions. You may be feeling positive about your pregnancy, or you may have some worries or negative feelings. At times, you will feel a mixture of both. All these feelings are natural, but there are things you can do to look after your mental health while you’re pregnant.

How pregnancy can affect your feelings

Pregnancy hormones can affect your mood, especially in the first 3 months. You might feel excited and happy one minute, then worried or sad the next. It’s natural to have some ups and downs, but if you feel down all the time, make sure you speak to your midwife or doctor about it. 

Pregnancy also changes the way your body looks, which can affect how you feel. Some women and birthing people love their pregnant form, and feel strong and upbeat. Others don’t enjoy pregnancy or they dislike the way it makes them look and feel. You may also be feeling sick or having problems sleeping, which can impact your mood.

“I did start to doubt myself, thinking ‘Am I doing something wrong? Is my body not right?’ It can be quite daunting thinking, ‘Do women literally glow through nine months of pregnancy?” 

Sarah, mum of one.

Other things can also affect your emotions. For example, worry about pregnancy  complications or a lack of support from family and friends can take its toll. That’s even more likely to be the case if you have had the trauma of pregnancy loss in the past. You may also have other issues that are stressing you out, such as work, housing or money  problems. Sometimes, being pregnant can put pressure on your relationship with your partner, if you have one, and maybe your sex life.

“Because it was my first baby, I constantly wanted reassurance and I worried all the time that something would go wrong."

Esther, mum of one

Coping with pregnancy worries

You may have thought you would feel happy throughout your pregnancy. Maybe you struggled to get pregnant and thought you would feel more pleased than you do. We can’t always control our feelings though, and it’s natural to have mixed emotions sometimes.

Here are some ways you can help to improve your mental wellbeing during pregnancy. You might also want to try our Wellbeing Plan to help prepare for and prevent any anxiety triggers. 


Sometimes, the fear of the unknown can make us feel anxious or stressed. Getting information you can trust, and some support, can help you feel better prepared. This can help you feel more in control of the situations and your emotions. 

Here are some ways to find out what you may need to know:

  • If you are worried about your health or your baby's health, talk to your midwife or doctor.
  • Check any worrying pregnancy symptoms here, and what you can do if you have them.
  • Talk to your partner and/or your midwife if you're worried about sex and relationships during pregnancy. Read about relationship problems in pregnancy.
  • Read about birth and your options for pain relief, and go to antenatal classes to help you prepare for labour and birth.
  • Find out about maternity rights and benefits, and financial help for new parents at Maternity Action or Gov.uk
  • We have advice and support here about pregnancy loss if you're worried about that.

Your midwife or doctor may also be able to tell you about local sources of support and information during pregnancy.

Get help and support if you need it

It can be tough to accept that you’re feeling low at a time when you expect to feel happy. But know that you’re not alone. Mental health conditions such as stress and anxiety are common in pregnancy.  

Tell your midwife or doctor how you feel. They can help you find the right help and support so you can take care of yourself and your baby.  

Don’t forget, you can also call Tommy’s Midwives free on 0800 0147 800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or email them at [email protected]

Help for partners

If you’re a partner of someone who’s pregnant, you may also be worried or anxious. Pregnancy is a life-changing event – it's understandable to be concerned about you or your partner. Get support for dads and partners, advice on relationship problems during pregnancy and learn more about your partner’s emotions in pregnancy.


1.    Healthline. Pregnancy Mood Swings: Why You’re Feeling Them and What to Do. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/pregnancy-mood-swings (Page last reviewed: 16/10/2023)

2.    HSE. Adjusting to pregnancy. https://www2.hse.ie/pregnancy-birth/keeping-well/health-lifestyle/adjusting-to-pregnancy/ (Page last reviewed: 22/09/2022. Next review due: 22/09/2025)

3.    Trifu S, Vladuti A, Popescu A. THE NEUROENDOCRINOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF PREGNANCY AND POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION. Acta Endocrinol (Buchar). 2019 Jul-Sep;15(3):410-415. doi: 10.4183/aeb.2019.410. PMID: 32010366; PMCID: PMC6992410. 

4.    NHS. Feelings, relationships and pregnancy. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/support/feelings-and-relationships/ (Page last reviewed: 28/02/2023. Next review due: 28/02/2026)

5.    Estebsari F, Kandi ZRK, Bahabadi FJ, Filabadi ZR, Estebsari K, Mostafaei D. Health-related quality of life and related factors among pregnant women. J Educ Health Promot. 2020 Nov 26;9:299. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_307_20. PMID: 33426103; PMCID: PMC7774626.  

Review dates
Reviewed: 04 February 2024
Next review: 04 February 2027