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When Pregnancy Is Not What You Expect

Pregnancy is often seen as a time of joy and excitement, but this is not true for everyone. Seeking help in your pregnancy may lower your chance of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Pregnancy can bring many changes and questions about the future. It can also affect your relationships. Good physical care, emotional support, learning about pregnancy and prenatal care are often very helpful.


Talk about your feelings with your partner, your healthcare provider or someone you trust.

Prenatal Depression and Anxiety Disorders are common

When prenatal depression and anxiety are left untreated, the risk of postpartum depression and mood disorders increases. Partners and other children can struggle too. It can affect anyone in the family.  Early intervention can help you feel better during pregnancy!


People experiencing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders may...

  • Feel sad or numb
  • Be tearful or cry a lot
  • Feel exhausted, but not able to sleep
  • Have changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Feel overwhelmed and can’t concentrate
  • Feel anxious or can’t stop worrying 
  • Seek constant reassurance from others or the internet
  • Have no interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Feel hopeless or worthless
  • Feel restless, irritable or angry
  • Feel guilty and ashamed
  • Avoid spending time with family and friends
  • Have thoughts of hurting yourself or others
  • Have scary thoughts about your baby

If your symptoms continue or get worse, speak to your healthcare professional. 


What you can do...

  • Rest during the day when feeling tired
  • Get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep
  • Eat healthy food several times a day
  • Go for a walk 3-4 times a week or more
  • Accept help from family and friends
  • Take time for yourself
  • Relaxation such as listening to music, deep breathing, or reading
  • Limit the time you spend with people who make you feel anxious or sad
  • Talk about your feelings with your partner or someone you trust
  • Find the prenatal education that is right for you
  • Reach out to your healthcare professional to talk about what help and treatment options are available
  • Take Action, Get Help
Date of creation: December 1, 2017
Last modified on: April 27, 2023


1BC Reproductive Mental Health Program. (2014). Best practice guidelines for mental health disorders in the perinatal period. Retrieved from
2Canadian Pediatric Society. (2020, July). Depression in pregnant women and mothers: How it affects you and your child. Retrieved from
3Government of Canada. (2022-11-07). Mental Health: Your Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy Retrieved from
4Haensel, H., & Parkinson, S. (2017). Mothering the mother: Caring for mother’s mental health to optimize infant attachment and development. [PowerPoint slides].