Managing depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy

Expecting a new baby can leave you feeling both excited and nervous. After your baby is born, you might also feel overwhelmed.

That's why it's important to watch for signs of anxiety and depression, including postpartum depression. Talk about any concerns with your care provider at your prenatal and postpartum appointments.

Anxiety is more than just worrying

Having anxiety can look different for every mom. You might have anxiety if you feel:

  • Disorganized

  • Like you can’t cope

  • Alone or frightened

  • Like you can’t focus on a task

You can help manage your anxiety by:

  • Getting plenty of sleep (both at night and during daytime naps)

  • Limiting time spent on the news and social media

  • Staying hydrated

  • Avoiding foods that are high in fat or sugar

  • Calling family and friends

  • Prioritizing self-care

Depression is more than just feeling sad

Depression is a real illness that requires the help of a care provider to get better. You might be facing depression if you have:

  • Loss of energy or increased anger

  • Feelings of guilt, helplessness or sadness

  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping more than usual

  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

  • Problems concentrating and making decisions

Talk to a care provider if you have feelings of anxiety or depression. Or, if you’re having a hard time finishing daily tasks.

Treatment options for depression might include:

  • Taking medications that are safe for you and your baby

  • Seeing a mental health provider

  • Connecting with other moms

Isolation and loneliness

Sometimes, when you have a new baby, you can feel isolated from other people. If you don’t get out of the house much, you might be lonely.

Social isolation and loneliness have both been linked to poor health outcomes. If you’re having these feelings, be sure to talk to your health provider. 

If you’re having any thoughts of harming yourself or others, call the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline right away. The phone number is 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262). You can get private and trusted help anytime, day or night.

You should manage depression and mental health concerns with the help of your doctor. If you’re a UnitedHealthcare member, there are mental health programs that may be available to you.