Navigating Your Mental Health During Pregnancy: Self-Soothing Techniques And Where You Can Seek Support

Pregnancy is a huge event in your life, and it’s one that comes with a lot of different emotions. Sadness can be one of them, but if you feel sad all the time, and it affects other areas of your life as well, you might be wondering what you can do to help yourself. There are some things you can do to self-soothe and navigate your mental health during pregnancy.


pregnancy mental health


Things To Try To Help Your Mental Health


There are many different self-soothing techniques. Some may work for you straight away, and others may need to be practised before you feel the full effects. However, all techniques help manage your mental health.


Talk To Someone


Talking about your feelings is one of the most important ways to help your mental health. You could talk to your partner, family, friends, doctor, midwife, or other healthcare professional. Talking about how you’re feeling can sometimes help put things in perspective, and it gives you someone to lean on.




During your pregnancy, moderate exercise is usually fine unless you’ve been advised otherwise by a GP or healthcare professional. Doing something like going for a short walk may help you feel more positive as exercise releases endorphins that lift your mood.

If you’re worried about starting a new exercise routine during your pregnancy, talk to your midwife or doctor beforehand, and get advice on the best type of exercise for you. For some, short walks are perfect, but others may feel more comfortable trying something like a short swim.


Eat Healthy


Eating healthy food can be beneficial for yours and your baby’s health. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs, fish, milk and yoghurt are all good to have during pregnancy. Regular meals can help too. They are a good way to make sure that your body is always full of vitamins and minerals. It needs these as your pregnancy can be draining, and feeling hungry can impact your mood. Regular meals can give you a routine too, which can also help your mental health.


Calming Breathing Exercises


Breathing exercises can help you deal with stress, anxiety and panic. It can be done anywhere, but it should be done regularly so that you get the most benefit from it. Get as comfortable as you can, and take as deep a breath as you can, but don’t force it. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. It can help if you count as you breathe. Aim to breathe in for four and out for four. Breathe like this for around five minutes.


Antenatal Classes


Antenatal classes can be useful for all pregnant women, but they can be especially helpful to help your mental health. They can help you feel more prepared which can help reduce anxiety. These classes can also encourage you to meet other people who can understand what you’re going through and how you’re feeling. This can help you to feel less alone.


Emergency Help


Some people feel better if they know where to find help if they need it. The NHS has urgent mental health helplines. The numbers for these are different depending on your location but you can find a local helpline on the NHS website. There are also charity services that provide free listening services.

116 123 – Samaritans

Text SHOUT to 85258 for the Shout Crisis Text Line

These are both 24-hour services.

If you feel that you are really struggling, you can call 111 (option 2) so you can speak to a nurse or mental health professional. You may also want to make an appointment to see your GP, or you could attend your local A&E department.


Some Things To Avoid


  • Every pregnancy is different which is why it’s important that you don’t compare yourself to other pregnant women. Their experience may not be your experience, and that’s ok. However, comparing yourself to others isn’t helpful and will often leave you feeling worse.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell your midwife how you’re feeling. Pregnancy affects everyone differently, so they will be able to support you, and listen.
  • Don’t go through this alone. There are loved ones around you, and support systems in place to help when you’re struggling. Opening up is the first step, and can be a huge relief.


What To Do If You Need More Help


It’s perfectly fine to need more help, and if you do, your first point of contact will probably be your GP. There are a few treatment options that you may be offered.


Therapy And Counselling


Talking therapies may help you manage your mental health. There are a few different types, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and counselling. You can self-refer to some NHS therapies, but if you do, you should let your midwife and GP know.




You might be offered some form of medication treatment. Your doctor will offer you the safest possible medication, and at the lowest possible dosage. However, you may need to consider the benefits against any potential risks.


Mental Health Problems During Pregnancy


For some people, it can help to have a better understanding of their specific condition. It’s also important to remember that mental health problems during pregnancy can occur at any time, even if this isn’t your first pregnancy.

This is a rough guide of what feelings certain conditions can be commonly associated with. It is by no means a diagnostic tool, but it can help indicate if you need to speak with your GP.

  • If you feel sad all or most of the time, you may have depression.
  • If you experience sudden attacks of panic or fear, you may have a panic disorder.
  • If you have obsessive thoughts, or compulsions, you may have OCD.
  • If you have flashbacks, or feel intensely distressed about a past experience, you may have PTSD. This can happen if you’ve had a previously traumatic pregnancy.
  • If you have an extreme fear of giving birth, you may have tokophobia.