Perinatal anxiety

women holding baby close

Do you want to know a secret? Everyone gets anxious!

Anxiety actually serves a purpose and helps us protect ourselves and loved ones from a perceived threat.

If you don’t get anxious about a child being around hot pans in a kitchen, they could get burned. If you didn’t feel anxious about crossing a busy road, you wouldn’t look out for on coming traffic. So in anything we do, anxiety plays a part and keeps us safe. Add having a baby into that mix and things can rapidly start to feel out of control.

Even before you’ve had your baby you may start worrying about the birth, the sex of the baby, whether you’ll be a good mum, how you will manage financially, the health of your baby and a multitude of other things too numerous to mention. Ask any new parent and you will find that they have worried about the same stuff. It’s normal!

Sometimes though, that anxiety starts to be a problem. It can start to feel out of control and we find ourselves worrying about not having anything to worry about.

There are lots of things you can try to help yourself cope such as talking to a friend or family member, trying to do some regular physical activity like having a walk; or learning some breathing exercises. See our page on ‘Dealing with feeling overwhelmed’ for some more ideas.

When anxiety becomes too hot to handle

If you have noticed a rise in your anxiety and simple self-help measures don’t seem to be working there are several ways you can get more support. Firstly speak to your GP, health visitor or midwife. They are uniquely placed to be able to think about your anxieties in the first instance to see if they can offer further support. They might suggest you try an online programme, or attend a group and can also refer you for talking therapy. The point of talking therapy is to teach you new ways of thinking about your anxiety and then ways to learn to manage it.

Your GP may also think with you about appropriate medication to help damp down the anxiety and there are safe medications for you to be able to use even if you are breastfeeding. So before you decide ‘no’ to medication, have that conversation with your GP.

Again, the most important take away message here is that there is help out there for your increasing anxiety so please reach out, talk and get help.

Additional information and support

Anxiety UK
National charity providing help and support to those in need.

No Panic
Charity that helps and supports those living with panic attacks, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorders and other related anxiety disorders.


Resources to support your mental health and emotional wellbeing

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