Health Resources

Anxiety During Pregnancy

What is Anxiety During Pregnancy?

We all have experienced anxiety and worries before, especially during times of increased danger and stress. Pregnancy, while being a happy event, can also be associated with an increase in uncertainty and lead to anxiety. Here are some frequently asked questions about anxiety during and after pregnancy.

Q: I have been feeling more tense and worried since my pregnancy started. Is this normal?

A: Pregnancy is generally a safe process for the mother and baby, but it can still cause anxiety. It is not uncommon to experience increased anxiety during a pregnancy due to the uncertainties that one may face. Feeling anxious is a normal response when one perceives any threat, danger or uncertainty.

Q: What are some symptoms of anxiety?

​A: Symptoms of anxiety may include excessive worrying, difficulty in relaxing, increased muscle tension or soreness, irritability, poor concentration and/or sleep problems.

Q: Why do we need to manage our anxiety during pregnancy?

A: Stress and anxiety in small doses are unavoidable during pregnancy, but if left uncontrolled, they can lead to poorer outcomes for both the mother and baby. If the mother is feeling tense most of the time, this may affect her lifestyle. The baby's growth might also be affected by prolonged exposure to stress hormones.

Q: How do I differentiate between normal and abnormal anxiety?

​A: There is an overlap between the two, but consider seeking medical help if your symptoms are severe enough or the symptoms have continued for more than two weeks. Examples of symptoms to note include not feeling like your usual self and being unable to perform your usual roles at work or at home.

Q: What if I know the reasons for my anxiety? Does that change anything?

​A: There may be a very good reason for your anxiety, but if you are feeling anxious most of the time and for more than two weeks, it is recommended you seek medical advice.

Q: Are there any other anxiety disorders that I should be aware of?

A: Other types of anxiety disorders include:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: experiencing recurrent and unpleasant thoughts or images that lead to increased anxiety. For example, some women would keep thinking that their baby has stopped breathing and would check on them many times a day. In some cases, medication management may be required to control the anxiety.
  • Panic Disorder: episodes of intense anxiety together with a cluster of symptoms such as palpitations, increased perspiration, and a feeling of losing control or collapsing. These symptoms may occur on their own or together with increased anxiety.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: (although uncommon) a sharp increase in recurrent, intrusive thoughts of the birth, together with feelings of tension and even suppression of memories of the incident — stemming from a traumatic previous childbirth experience.
Q: What treatment options are there?

A: Get a proper assessment. You may know why you are experiencing anxiety, but our case managers and doctors are trained to assess you for any other possible factors which might increase your risk for having an anxiety disorder. We aim to offer treatment which does not involve medication but medication may be recommended in some cases.

Q: What are the non-medication methods available?
A: Our team of Psychologists and Occupational Therapists can provide information on anxiety, teach relaxation techniques, and provide specific therapy such as cognitive-behavioural therapy or mindfulness-based therapy.
Q: When will I require medication?

A: We always consider the benefits and risks of untreated anxiety versus possible medication effects on the mother and baby. Based on your specific circumstances, an individualised treatment will be provided.

Last updated on
Best viewed with Chrome 79.0, Edge 112.0, Firefox 61.0, Safari 11
National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
  • Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
  • Alexandra Hospital
  • Jurong Community Hospital
  • National University Polyclinics
  • Jurong Medical Centre
  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
  • National University Heart Centre, Singapore
  • National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore
  • NUHS Diagnostics
  • NUHS Pharmacy
  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
Back to Top