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Anxiety During and After Pregnancy

Condition Basics

What is anxiety during and after pregnancy?

Anxiety means feeling very worried about things, like your health or your baby's health. It's common to have some worry while you're pregnant and after childbirth. But if it lasts more than 2 weeks, your doctor or midwife will want to know. Together, you can find ways to help you feel better.

What are the symptoms?

One symptom of anxiety is not being able to stop worrying. Other symptoms include feeling nervous or irritable. You may not be able to concentrate. And you may feel very tired (fatigued). You may also have headaches, nausea, stomach pain, or trouble sleeping.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor or midwife will ask about your symptoms. You may be asked about your past health and any medicines you take. Your doctor or midwife may ask questions to rule out other health conditions, such as depression. You may have a physical exam.

How is anxiety during and after pregnancy treated?

Anxiety is treated with a type of counselling called cognitive behavioural therapy. It may also be treated with medicines. Self-care can also help, like getting enough sleep and doing things that help you relax. Ask your doctor or midwife about the different types of treatment. Then you can decide together about what might work for you.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Here are some things you can do if you have anxiety during or after pregnancy.

  • Go to counselling.

    Try to attend all of your counselling sessions.

  • Take your medicines as prescribed.

    If you have trouble taking your medicines, talk to your doctor or midwife.

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods.

    Avoid food and drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee or energy drinks. Caffeine may make anxiety worse.

  • Try to get some daily exercise.

    You could do things like walking or swimming. If you are still bleeding from childbirth, wait until the bleeding stops to swim.

  • Get as much rest as possible.

    Babies need care around the clock. Talk to your partner, family, friends, and healthcare providers about how you can get the rest you need. If you are breastfeeding, you may want to pump and store milk so someone else can feed your baby while you get a longer stretch of sleep.

  • Find ways to relax.

    You could try deep breathing exercises. There are smartphone apps that can help you learn how.

  • Avoid using alcohol, nicotine, and drugs.

    If you need help quitting or cutting back, talk to your doctor or midwife.

  • Connect with others.

    Consider joining a support group for people with anxiety during and after pregnancy. Go to to find an online support group. Or ask your doctor or midwife about support groups in your area.

  • Watch for signs of depression.

    Depression and anxiety can sometimes happen at the same time. If you feel sad, depressed, or hopeless, and it lasts for more than 2 weeks, tell your doctor or midwife right away.

If you or someone you know talks about suicide, self-harm, a mental health crisis, a substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress, get help right away. Call or text Canada's suicide and crisis hotline at 988. You can also go to or call Talk Suicide Canada at 1-833-456-4566. Or text 45645 (4 p.m. to midnight ET).


Adaptation Date: 4/18/2024

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

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