Signs and symptoms of perinatal anxiety and depression

It is normal to expereince a degree of anxiety and 'ups and downs' when execpting a baby. However, some people develop a more pronounced anxiety or lower mood (depression) which affects their daily functioning. There are treatments, supports and services available to help you through this experience. If symptoms last for more than two weeks, it's time to seek support. 

The signs and symptoms of antenatal anxiety and depression can vary and may include:

  • Panic attacks (a racing heart, palpitations, shortness of breath, shaking or feeling physically ‘detached’ from your surroundings)
  • Persistent, generalised worry, often focused on fears for the health
  • The development of obsessive or compulsive behaviours
  • Abrupt mood swings
  • Feeling constantly sad, low, or crying for no obvious reason
  • Being nervous, ‘on edge’, or panicky
  • Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy
  • Having little or no interest in all the normal things that bring joy (like time with friends, exercise, eating, or sharing partner time)
  • Sleeping too much or not sleeping very well at all
  • Sleep problems unrelated to the baby’s needs
  • Losing interest in sex or intimacy
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Being easily annoyed or irritate
  • Extreme lethargy: a feeling of being physically or emotionally overwhelmed and unable to cope with the demands of chores and looking after baby
  • Fear of being alone with baby
  • Intrusive thoughts of harm to yourself or baby 
  • Finding it difficult to focus, concentrate or remember (people with depression often describe this as a ‘brain fog’)
  • Engaging in more risk taking behavior (e.g., alcohol or drug use)
  • Having thoughts of death or suicide
While PANDA has exercised due care in ensuring the accuracy of the material contained on this website, the information is made available on the basis that PANDA is not providing professional advice on a particular matter. This website is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice, nor should it be used as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.