Many women have good mental health during pregnancy. Some women may already have a mental illness when they get pregnant. Others worry about mental health problems they have had in the past. They fear getting ill again during pregnancy or after childbirth. Some women have mental health problems for the first time in pregnancy. Unfortunately, pregnancy does not stop people from having mental health problems. Women who stop medication when they get pregnant have a high risk of getting ill again (e.g. 7 out of every 10 women who stop antidepressants in early pregnancy become unwell again).
Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems in pregnancy. These affect about 10 to 15 out of every 100 pregnant women. Women also experience many other mental health problems during pregnancy, just like at other times.
How your mental health is affected during pregnancy depends on many things. These include:
Symptoms of mental illness in pregnancy are similar to symptoms you have at other times. Some symptoms might focus on the pregnancy. For instance, you may have anxious or negative thoughts about your pregnancy or your baby. You may find changes in your weight and shape difficult, particularly if you have had an eating disorder.
Sometimes pregnancy-related-symptoms can be confused with symptoms of mental illness. For example, broken sleep and lack of energy are common in both pregnancy and depression.
Some people find it more difficult than others to cope with the changes and uncertainties which pregnancy brings. For some women, it can be a very happy and exciting time. Others may have mixed, or negative, feelings about being pregnant.
Many women worry about how they will cope with having a baby. Worries about some of the following are common when you are pregnant: