Anxiety & Depression During Pregnancy


While pregnancy is often revered as a wonderful period in which the expectant parent glows with happiness and joy, the truth is that 1 in 5 women suffer from depression or anxiety during pregnancy.

While most of us hear about postpartum depression, just as many women experience mood disorders during pregnancy.

So what's a woman to do when she believes she may be suffering from depression or anxiety during pregnancy?

First, recognize the signs and symptoms (of course some of which are the same as common pregnancy discomforts):

  • Persistent sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
  • Thoughts of death, suicide, or hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Nervousness

Next, tell someone: a therapist or your doctor or midwife.

Finally, find a solution.

Some women can start to feel better from lifestyle modifications such as prioritizing sleep and exercise or talking to a therapist. Other women, however, require medication to feel like themselves again. 

We live in a world where pregnant women often feel guilty about their changing bodies, what they put in their bodies, and how their lifestyle and diet will affect their baby.

While many are quick to say that pregnant women should avoid anything "unnatural," we at Chicago Birth & Baby believe it is so important to consider the effects of depression and anxiety on a developing fetus (not to mention the woman!)

While the baby isn't the only person who matters, a baby will certainly benefit from a mother who is taking care of herself mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Talk with your doctor or midwife about medications for depression or anxiety, but understand that there are medications that are safe and commonly prescribed during pregnancy.

A happy, emotionally well woman makes for an amazing mother.



Maura Winkler CNM IBCLC is a nurse midwife, birth & postpartum doula, lactation consultant and founder of Chicago Birth & Baby, Fika Midwifery, and Buffalo Birth & Baby.