Psychological Care During Pregnancy

7 min read

Written by Chandrani Mukherjee

Chandrani Mukherjee

Psychological Care During PregnancyPregnancy is a period of storm and stress in a woman’s life. Just like physical changes pave their way into the process, several emotional changes also occur. So, it is important to have proper psychological care during pregnancy. It supports pregnant mothers through mood fluctuations, anxiety, or any other mental health concerns.

There is a need to address underlying anxieties and nervousness during this time. The primary motive is to help the woman nurture her emotional wellbeing. In this way, she can have a healthy childbirth experience full of sweet memories.

In This Article

How Important is Psychological Care During Pregnancy?

Becoming a new mother is a great joy that a woman cherishes throughout her life. Also, it’s the time of uncomfortable bodily changes that occur now and then. Furthermore, emotional changes feel overwhelming at times. Taking care of your psychological health can have a lasting impact on your child’s future emotional health. Positive psychological care fosters good mood and ensures less anxiety. It also helps in effective coping with the challenges of pregnancy.

Looking after your mental health during pregnancy also means reducing the risks of complications. You will be able to live healthy during the nine months. Various research findings have highlighted that maternal stress during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery [1]. It can also increase the risk of having health problems in babies after birth.Thus, the importance of psychological care during pregnancy rests on:

1. Emotional Stability

The expecting mother experiences increased nervousness, mood swings, and these can be checked only by taking good care of one’s mental wellbeing.

2. Attachment with the Unborn 

Good care of one’s mental health during pregnancy ensures positive feelings towards the unborn. This also paves the future attachment and bonding with the baby. Research studies highlighted the fact that good psychological care during pregnancy strengthens maternal-fetal bonding[2]

3. Reducing Complications

Science-backed evidence suggests that poor mental health during pregnancy increases the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and maternal hypertension [1]

4. Enhances Coping Skills

Psychological care during pregnancy helps to manage the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth easily. Moreover, it also helps to handle postpartum experiences in a better way.

Psychological Symptoms Impacting Pregnancy

morning sicknessCertain factors during pregnancy can directly impact the mental health of the mother. It is not always possible to completely get away with these physical changes. Two such physical changes that impact mental health are as follows:-

1. Hormonal Changes

Emotions run high during pregnancy and childbirth. It’s all because of the female hormones impacting mood and emotional wellness. These hormones bring fatigue along with changes in metabolism. Sometimes, these hormones can lead to anxiety, mood swings, and irritability as well.

2. Morning Sickness

Another physical symptom affecting mental health is morning sickness. It usually occurs during early pregnancy. The pregnant mother suffers from nausea, tiredness, and reduced desire to have food. Sometimes, the physical discomfort of morning sickness such as nausea and vomiting causes anxiety, mental tiredness, and negative emotions related to being conceived [3].

Now let’s understand the various psychological symptoms impacting pregnancy:-

  1. Anxiety –Excessive worrying and overthinking. This leads to emotional restlessness and sleep problems.
  2. Depression – Constant feelings of sadness, or loss of interest in activities.
  3. Stress – financial worries or thoughts about upcoming responsibilities
  4. Panic Attacks – Sudden fear or anxiousness can lead to physical uneasiness in the form of rapid heart rate, breathing difficulties, etc.
  5. Mood Swings – Changes in mood or shifting emotions due to hormonal fluctuations.
  6. Sleep issues – Difficulty falling asleep or insomnia can cause mental uneasiness.

Psychological Disorders in Pregnancy

anxiety during pregnancyAs pregnancy is a significant life event, most women go through several emotional changes during this time. Moreover, women who had a previous history of mental illness can show up signs of their illness all over again. Researchers have found antenatal depression and anxiety occurs due to lack of social support, family abuse, unwanted pregnancy, and personal history of mental illness [4].


It is normal to feel differently during pregnancy. Sometimes, feelings of extreme happiness can end up with overthinking and worries. Along with feelings of joy, traces of sadness are equally seen. But, if the mood swings are getting worse, you need to seek expert help. Research studies have shown that depression affects 4% – 20% of women in their pregnancy [5]. Some of the signs of low mood are as follows:-

  • Feeling sad for no known reason
  • Crying spells
  • Feeling impatient
  • Sleep issues
  • Lack of interest in daily activities
  • Loss of interest in having food
  • Problems with focus
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Mood swings


Another psychological disorder that is very common during pregnancy is anxiety and constant mental nervousness. Study findings support the fact that prenatal anxiety disorders are related to cognitive deficits in babies [6]. The level of anxiety is more than occasional worrying and overthinking. Some of the typical signs of anxiety during pregnancy are :-

  • Uncontrolled constant worries
  • Restless feelings all the time
  • Poor sleep
  • Nervousness
  • Headaches and body pains
  • Overthinking
  • Lack of concentration

How Does Mental Health Affect Your Baby?

If psychological illness remains untreated in pregnancy, it can lead to lack of antenatal care, low birth weight, and premature births. Moreover, poor mental health of the mother affects baby in many ways such as –

  1. Maternal anxiety can lead to poor care for the baby after birth
  2. If the mother’s mood is not good, it can impact the in-general mood of the family
  3. Maternal sadness is also connected with a lack of bonding with the baby in later life
  4. The mother may not respond to her baby’s needs
  5. Antenatal depression can create problems in married relationships; causing postpartum depression [4.1]
  6. Anxiety during this time can lead to preterm delivery
  7. Sleep disturbances due to overthinking lead to elevated blood pressure
  8. Feelings of sadness can lead to not accepting the pregnancy joyfully

Tips To Help You Manage Your Mental Well Being

Physiotherapy During PregnancyYou can manage your mental health by staying active, eating well, and timely doctor visits. You should ensure healthy lifestyle choices by doing regular exercise, meditation, or listening to music or chanting. All these can help to lower your nervousness related to the changes happening inside your body. There are coping mechanisms that are handy and easy to follow.

1. Self-care

Practicing self-care is a beneficial habit during pregnancy. You should eat a balanced diet, ensure adequate sleep, and attend regular health checks. You need to stay hydrated as well so that your body needs all the water that it requires for your good health.

2. Stop Smoking

Smoking is harmful to the developing baby, so it should be completely avoided during pregnancy. Smoking can cause birth difficulties by increasing risks and it can also cause birth defects and low birth weight.

3. Seek Help

If you are feeling anxious or low during pregnancy, you can always share your concerns with your family members and close friends. Remember that your doctor is your friend too. So, you can seek medical advice or counselling if needed.

Treatment For Perinatal Mental Health

pregnant women seeking helpThe treatment for perinatal mental health includes counselling by a professional and medication to lower anxiety and depressive symptoms. Further, becoming a part of a support group of would-be parents can also help reduce your maternal stress.

1. Nutrition and Exercise

Your self-care schedule should include relaxation exercises such as prenatal yoga, mild walking, and light exercises. Moreover, you should eat food rich in vitamins and proteins. A healthy, nutritious diet is a must for you during pregnancy so that the birth weight of the developing baby gets maintained in a proper way.

2. Social Support

Seeking support from your family members and friends can also add to your happiness. They can help you move through this phase easily. You can also join prenatal classes, community groups for advice and companionship.

3. Talk Therapy

Talk therapy is a form of psychotherapy that allows pregnant women to discuss their feelings openly with the therapist. It involves patient hearing from the therapist with unconditional support for the would-be mother. It helps manage mood swings, overthinking, and anxiety.

4. Medication

During pregnancy, medication should be used only if advised by your doctor. If your anxiety or depression symptoms are too bad, then a doctor can advise anti-anxiety drugs or anti-depressants drugs for managing the symptoms.

Psychological care during pregnancy benefits both the mother and her growing baby. It should be a priority in the family also. Everyone in the home should support the pregnant mother in her journey. Tailored treatments along with good self-care can lead to maternal well being and the birth of healthy babies.


1. What Are the Psychological Needs of a Pregnant Woman?

A pregnant woman needs to be supported in her journey of motherhood. She needs love, care, and emotional support.

2. How Can I Be Mentally Strong During Pregnancy?

You can be mentally strong during pregnancy by eating healthy food and keeping your stress levels under control. Always have positive thoughts so that your feelings also remain happy and hopeful.

3. Does Mental Stress Affect Pregnancy?

Yes, mental stress in the form of overthinking and anxiety affects pregnancy. It can lead to complications such as preterm birth and low birth weight in babies.


  1. The Contribution of Maternal Stress to Preterm Birth: Issues and Considerations []
  2. Investigating attachment, caregiving, and mental health: a model of maternal-fetal relationships []
  3. Effect of Nausea and Vomiting on Anxiety and Depression Levels in Early Pregnancy
  4. Identifying the women at risk of antenatal anxiety and depression: A systematic review []
  5. Depression during pregnancy: Prevalence and obstetric risk factors among pregnant women attending a tertiary care hospital in Navi Mumbai
  6. Effects of prenatal and postnatal maternal emotional stress on toddlers’ cognitive and temperamental development []
Chandrani Mukherjee,M.Sc (Clinical psychology),PGDEA

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