I'm stressed about everything. Will this affect my baby?

It’s natural to get a bit stressed in pregnancy. But if you feel like you can’t cope it’s important to ask for help.

Being concerned about whether anxiety or stress will effect your baby is understandable, but it can also create a vicious cycle of thoughts. If you feel anxious during your pregnancy, you may begin to worry if it this is affecting your baby and so become even more anxious.

It is very unlikely that your baby will be affected by stress or anxiety, if you get the right treatment and support. So try to focus on asking for help and finding ways to manage your symptoms.The first step is to talk to your midwife or doctor about how you’re feeling.

There are several things that can be done to help. What support you’re offered will depend on what your symptoms and how severe they are, what’s available locally and what you and your healthcare professional think will help.

Some pregnant women feel distressed or guilty about feeling anxious or panicky when everyone expects them to be happy. But pregnancy can be a very emotional experience and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression are common. Try to remember that your healthcare professionals won’t judge you for how you feel. Their focus will be on finding ways to help you stay well so you can take care of yourself and your baby.

Have a look at our ideas for coping with stress and top tips for looking after your emotional wellbeing.

For specific worries, such as money, housing, relationships there are local and national organisations that may be able to help you too. Ask your midwife or GP for details.

Managing mental health problems can be difficult when you’re pregnant. But try not to focus on the anxiety itself and focus on what you're doing to manage your symptoms. Be confident that you are doing everything you can to take care of your baby.

Glover V (2015) Prenatal stress and its effects on the fetus and the child: possible underlying biological mechanisms. Advances in neurobiology 2015;10:269-83. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1372-5_13

The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (February 2017) Maternal Mental Health – Women’s Voices https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/information/maternalmental-healthwomens-voices.pdf

Review dates
Reviewed: 12 October 2018
Next review: 12 October 2021

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