What if I'm not coping?

It’s natural to feel emotional during pregnancy and after having a baby. But it’s important to ask for help if you’re having bad feelings all the time or you feel you can’t cope.

Woman looking anxious.

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

Higher risk of mental health problems during pregnancy

You are not alone. Women are more likely to have mental health issues during pregnancy than at other times of their life – and this includes women who have never had mental health problems before.

Up to 1 in 5 women develop mental health problems during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth. Low mood, anxiety and depression are common. Midwives and doctors are aware of this and should be ready to support you.

Where to get help

If you feel that you are really not coping, talk to your midwife or doctor as soon as possible about any anxiety, sadness or worries you have. Take a family member or friend with you if it helps. You won’t be judged or criticised for having these feelings.

Your healthcare professional will ask you questions to see if you need more treatment or support. Tell them if you’ve had a mental health condition before so that they can make sure you have the right care and support.   

If you have practical problems that you are worried about, such as housing, money worries or relationship concerns, it’s worth mentioning them to your midwife or doctor at the same time. They may know local or national organisations that can help you sort things out.

If you have a mental health condition, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published a list of questions for you to ask your healthcare provider to help you find out more. If you don’t get the answers you need, don’t be afraid to ask another member of your care team for help.

Find out more about getting help and support with mental health.

Sources

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

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Last reviewed on October 11th, 2018. Next review date October 11th, 2021.

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