Perinatal anxiety and creating a wellness plan

Anxiety during pregnancy and in the postnatal period is as common as depression. In the MAMMI study, 1 in 14 women told us that they experienced anxiety before they became pregnant for the first time. Almost 1 in 20 women experienced anxiety during pregnancy and that increased to 1 in 8 women three months after the baby was born.

Anxiety is a natural response to new or difficult situations. The arrival of a newborn is a huge event, it can bring excitement and happiness but it can also be very challenging. Feelings of stress and worry as you adjust to motherhood are not unusual. In fact, experiencing some anxiety and worry in motherhood is actually normal and to be expected.

However, it is important to be able to recognise if the normal worries of motherhood have become something more, and are negatively affecting your life.

The first thing to note is that most anxiety is temporary, it may appear but fade away.

Anxiety is a problem when it negatively interferes with your ability to function in your everyday life and affects your ability to enjoy life.

For example:

  • Are you feeling stressed, worried or tense most of the time?
  • Do you find it hard to ‘turn off’ and sleep?
  • Do you have reoccurring worrying thoughts?
  • Does worrying prevent you from enjoying time with your baby?
  • Do you avoid social situations or going out?
  • Are you noticeably stressed or irritable when you are with friends or family?
  • Is your anxiety causing difficulties in your relationships?
  • If you find that your anxiety is negatively affecting your quality of life and relationships, now is the time to focus on what you can do to address these issues, get help and return to positive mental health.

In this video, Agnes Higgins talks how you can create a Mental Wellness Plan, which focuses on the strategies that you can use to support your mental health and emotional well-being during pregnancy and motherhood.

This video was funded by the Health Research Board Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme (HRB-KEDS).

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This video is from the free online course:

Women’s Health After Motherhood

Trinity College Dublin

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