Tips for improving mental wellbeing in pregnancy

You may expect to feel happy throughout your pregnancy. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, but there are things you can do to take care of your mental health.

Feeling a range of strong emotions during pregnancy is common because of hormonal changes. So, it’s natural to feel more stressed or anxious than usual.  And as an expecting parent, your emotional wellbeing can sometimes be overlooked, with all the focus being on your growing baby.

There are lots of practical ways to look after your emotional wellbeing. The following suggestions are based on things others have told us they did to cope with darker days in their pregnancy.

"I didn’t really want to see people, do anything. I felt unenthusiastic about being pregnant, didn’t really want to prepare for it, wasn’t very quick at buying baby clothes or to decorate nurseries or doing anything like that. I just wanted to ignore it and whenever I did think about it, I just felt really anxious about it all."

Talk it out

Getting to know other parents can be a lifeline. You can share the woes of parenthood and laugh at aspects of life with a new baby, or about being pregnant.

Find out about antenatal classes near you. You can meet parents who are expecting babies at around the same time as you. If you’re feeling shy out and about, see what there is online. Chatting to people on forums can be a useful outlet for your fears and worries. Don’t forget your midwife is also there for you if you need to talk.

"The support I've received from my friends has been beyond incredible, from the random ‘How are you and baby doing?’ texts, to the casual banter, to the ‘I really need someone’ chats. On one occasion a set of friends just dropped what they were doing to come to my house and get me out because they knew I was in a state. I couldn't feel more blessed to call these guys my friends."

Find out when to get help.


You could try swimming, walking, running, dancing, pregnancy yoga. If it works for you, keep doing it through pregnancy.

Working out gives you a chance to focus on something else for a while. Plus, it’s great for you and your baby’s health. A surge of endorphins, or calmness brought on by stress-relieving stretches, can help you feel good and sleep better.

"I loved pregnancy yoga. It was ‘me’ time and I felt so relaxed afterwards."

Find out more about exercise in pregnancy.


Try meditation, breathing techniques or hypnobirthing

Many find meditation and breathing techniques help them relax in pregnancy and manage pain in labour.

"After a difficult first birth, I found I could create my own positive space and vibe the second time. I felt calm even when I was in pain. The meditation also gave me space in my pregnancy from being the mum of a toddler."

Find out more about hypnobirthing.


Treat yourself

Why not book a treat for every month of your pregnancy. This could be a trip to the movies, dinner out, a massage or even just a favourite home cooked meal.

It will give you something to look forward to, away from all thoughts of pregnancy and babies (and other children, if you have them).

"I booked a one-hour treatment each week before my due date. I had a bit of a back massage or reflexology, depending on how I felt. Best money I ever spent!"

Get extra support

Get some help if you’re struggling to cope with your pregnancy. Whether it’s help with housework, shopping or childcare, try not to exhaust yourself.

"I was feeling exhausted and emotional all the time in my second pregnancy. I decided to put my son with a childminder for six hours each week and just have some ‘me’ time, or a chance to do the chores in peace."

Consider counselling

Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone that doesn’t know you. Counselling can provide a safe space to voice all your worries and try to make sense of or control any troubling thoughts. You may be able to refer your yourself to a local NHS counselling service, or you could ask your GP to refer you. If you can afford it, you could pay for private sessions.

"Counselling got me through the first trimester of my second pregnancy, following a missed miscarriage. I was consumed by anxiety to the point where I felt I couldn’t function at work or home. I was obsessed with the idea that it would happen again. Counselling gave me space to talk about my worries and grieve for my first baby. The therapist also gave me techniques for managing my anxieties."

Find out what help and support is available.

Try complementary therapies

If you’re finding it hard to relax, you might want to try a complementary therapy, like acupuncture, reflexology or shiatsu. Complementary therapies are generally safe in pregnancy, but check with your midwife before you try one. You should also always use a qualified practitioner for any treatments, too.

"I found pregnancy a nuisance, rather than a joy, second time around. I was so distracted by my demanding energetic toddler, I hardly had any time to think about being pregnant. This made me feel guilty and ungrateful."

Find ways to connect to your baby

Taking time out to focus on your baby for a short time each day can also help you to feel better about pregnancy.

"I tried to spend some time each day focusing on the baby, even if it was just putting my hands on my tummy when they were kicking. Thinking about my baby, rather than everything else that was going on around me, helped just a little bit."

Go to antenatal birth classes

Sometimes worrying about your baby’s birth can weigh you down and affect you throughout your pregnancy.

Getting ready for labour by finding out about your options and ways to manage fears and pain, such as hypnobirthing, can help you relax and enjoy pregnancy more.

Find out about local childbirth classes and talk to your midwife about all your options.

Find out more about antenatal classes here.

Talk to your midwife

If your worries or moods are having an impact on your day-to-day life, please talk to your midwife. Lots of birthing people feel this way and your midwife is there to help you. Download our Wellbeing Plan to help you find the right support.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to feel good. 

'I always called my midwife if I had any problems, or the day assessment unit. They have been a great help. I've gone over my due date by 10 days now, so there is no way I cannot feel tired and worried.'

Don’t forget, you can also call our Tommy’s Midwives Helpline on 0800 0147 800 or email [email protected]

Ask for help

Pregnancy can be a very emotional experience and it can sometimes be hard to know whether your feelings are a sign of something more serious. Trust yourself and your loved ones. You are the best judge of whether your feelings are normal for you. Talk to your midwife or GP if you are feeling low for more than two weeks, or if someone who cares about you voices concern.

Information for partners   

Pregnancy can be a worrying time for dads and partners, especially if you’re concerned about your partner’s wellbeing. You can learn more about how your partner’s emotions can change in pregnancy and get more support for yourself.

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