Taking good care of our emotional health during pregnancy helps to keep us well, and the emotional wellbeing of our baby too.
Daily life can be a balancing act when we’re looking after others and coping with the demands of everyday life - finding the time to focus on our own emotional wellbeing can be a challenge! Take a few moments to focus on your emotional wellbeing by exploring the questions below:
It’s easy to think that our unborn babies are protected from any emotional turmoil we’re experiencing, but it turns out that when we’re stressed, cortisol (a hormone) finds its way to the amniotic fluid causing the baby’s heart to beat faster. Your baby can cope with an occasional increase in cortisol but if the increase happens a lot it can affect the way the baby’s brain develops and can make them more prone to stress later on in life. Tuning in to how you’re feeling and finding ways to stay calm and relaxed will benefit your baby as well as creating calm for yourself.
During pregnancy, especially the early months, there are lots of changes in the levels of pregnancy hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) which can cause mood swings. This really is a time of big change and so it’s not unusual to have worries and fears. The good news is that there are lots of practical steps that you can take to help reduce worry and stress and look after your emotional wellbeing.
Coping with all the demands of a busy life, alongside being pregnant when energy levels are low, can feel like a tricky juggling act. If we think about a torch, the light gets dimmer when the battery runs low. The same applies to us – if we don’t recharge our batteries and look after ourselves then it can become harder to cope with the ups and downs of being pregnant and leading a busy life.
We can find ourselves with more energy, more patience with the people around us, find life more fun, and cope better with life’s ups and downs.
Here’s what one parent had to say about recharging her batteries:
I’d always been run off my feet and HENRY helped me realise how important ‘me time’ is. They call it ‘recharging your batteries’. I can see now how important it is for me to do that because I need to look after me to look after them. I found that by recharging my batteries, little things didn’t get on top of me, so I wasn’t shouting at them, I wasn’t telling them off as much. I’ve noticed that the days just go a lot better.
Now the housework’s not great but I’m happier. I get very tired at the moment, I’m 20 weeks pregnant, but I have more energy by thinking about myself. Because if I wasn’t having ‘me time’, then it would just totally leave me knackered and moody … and hard on the kids, ‘cause obviously how you are affects your babies. If I’m not happy, if I’m tired and jaded, then what will that make them?
Pregnant mum of three children
Further help and support
Your midwife or doctor are there to listen to your worries without judgement; and they can refer you for further support if needed.
Tommy’s: Emotional changes in pregnancy
NHS approved: Mental health apps
For additional information on mental health before, during and after pregnancy:
For local support get in touch with:
- Specialist Health Visitors for Perinatal Mental Health https://abetterstartsouthend.co.uk/specialist-health-visitors-for-perinatal-mental-health/ For more information or to access the service, contact Ros: 07866 609752 or Hilary: 07816 965420
- PEWS (Emotional Wellbeing Service) – 01702 538170
- Women’s aid (Local) – 01702 618026