Antenatal Anxiety and Depression

Prevalence of Antenatal Anxiety and Depression

These fears are not unusual and all pregnant women should expect some mood variation in pregnancy.  But for about 10% of pregnant women depression can become a significant problem with Antenatal Depression. Anxiety is believed to be just, if not more, common. 


Symptoms of Antenatal Anxiety and Depression

Everyone's experience of pregnancy is different, however just as there are expected physical changes, there are also some common changes in emotion associated with each trimester, such as mood swings, anxiety, sensuality and excitement.  So when should a woman be concerned that what she is experiencing falls outside these normal variation in mood?  A woman may be suffering from antenatal anxiety or depression if she feels some of the following symptoms during her pregnancy:

  • 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
  • Losing interest in sex or intimacy
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Being easily annoyed or irritated
  • 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.