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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Self-care for mental illness during & after pregnancy

A pregnant woman relaxing in bed with a book and a healthy breakfast If you're feeling anxious or depressed during pregnancy or after your baby is born, there are many things you can do and people who can help you. The sooner you get help, the sooner you'll get better.

Talk to your GP, practice nurse, midwife or lead maternity carer (LMC) about how you're feeling. They can talk to you about treatment options.

Read below for some ways you can help yourself cope with how you are feeling.

Learn more about mental illness during and after pregnancy

Learn about what causes the illness, how it affects people and the different treatments that are available. This can help you feel more able to cope and less alone with the problem. These two resources are helpful:

Stay healthy

It will help if you eat healthy foods, avoid coffee and alcohol, and quit smoking. Keeping physically active can help too, and it doesn't have to be high-intensity. Talk to your GP or practice nurse about Support for getting active.

Learn to relax and reduce stress

Relaxing more and reducing stress will improve your mood and energy levels.

Try these relaxation techniques to relieve muscle tension and help control your breathing.

Mindfulness may also be helpful. It's a mental discipline that helps connect you to the here-and-now and regain control.

Mind the Bump is a free mindfulness meditation app to help individuals and couples support their mental and emotional wellbeing in preparation for having a baby and becoming a new parent.

Use phone lines

There is always someone to talk to if you're struggling. All these phone services are free.

Reach out for support

Let family and friends know how you are feeling and let then offer help .You may also like to join a local mother’s support group.

On the next page: Getting help for mental illness during & after pregnancy

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Consultant Psychiatrist, Mothers and Babies Service, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed February 2021.


See also:


Bipolar disorder



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Review key: HIMIP-416276