/sites/assets/Assets/Article%20Images/maternal-mental-wellbeing-banner.jpg?Width=970&Height=405

These are some common reasons you might be feeling stressed out:

Physiological Changes

  • Morning sickness is one of the first signs of pregnancies. Despite its name, you could suffer from bouts of nausea and vomiting any time of the day.
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy often involve a rise in estrogen levels, which is associated with anxiety, irritability and depression.
  • Back pain may occur as your body adapts to supporting a growing baby.

Lifestyle Changes

  • You could be feeling overwhelmed by pregnancy-related information – advice and stories from the people around you.
  • You may be anxious about the labour process, especially if you are a first-time mother.
  • You could be concerned about how your older child will adjust to the arrival of a new sibling.
  • Working mothers often worry about balancing their responsibilities.
  • You may also be fretting over finances, among other household matters.

Most of these reasons probably do not lead to serious pregnancy problems. In fact, they could be positive stressors to help you better prepare for the challenges ahead. However, prolonged periods of unmanaged stress could be a cause of concern. Long-term unmanaged stress could bring about postnatal depression and poor pregnancy outcomes. 1,2

How To Manage Stress

There are many ways to manage stress. Pick what works best for you. Most importantly, engage in self-care activities regularly during this period to rejuvenate and bond with your baby.

Maintain a Healthy Physical Lifestyle

  • Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.
  • Maintain an active lifestyle and exercise in moderation throughout your entire pregnancy as per your doctor’s advice.
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes.

Schedule ‘Me Time’ or ‘We Time’

  • Set time aside for activities you enjoy, such as listening to soothing music, or reading a book.
  • Get plenty of rest. It is okay to slow things down – simply lie on the couch and take a break. A warm beverage (avoid coffee and tea) and a hot bath will help you relax and sleep better.
  • Spend quality time with your spouse. Plan dates, go on a “babymoon” or staycation to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Catch up with your social support network, be it your family or friends. Maintaining strong relationships improves your overall mental wellness.
  • You may find it extra challenging to set aside time for yourself if you have young children to care of. Be it your lunch break or an hour after your kids have gone to bed, make an active effort to find yourself little pockets of “me time”. You may wish to consider sending them to a trusted caregiver for a few hours so that you can get some rest.

Reach Out for Support From Your Spouse and Support Network

  • Involve your spouse in the pregnancy process and reinforce confidence in his ability to be a good father along the way.
  • Participate in activities such as prenatal classes together to prepare both of you for the journey ahead.
  • Ask for help with the housework, especially for physically demanding chores that your pregnant self may not be able to handle.
  • Consider your childcare options. Identify a trusted care-giver you can rely on, when you wish to seek help.
  • For parents with older children, you may like to seek help from people you trust to help with babysitting or chores.

Trust in Your Doctor and Enjoy the Process

Every pregnancy is unique, and things may not always go as expected. Always rely on trusted information sources, especially your doctor’s advice on what’s best for you. Avoid self-diagnosis based on hearsay and dubious sources.

Recognising Pre-natal Depression and Where To Seek Help

Stress is not normal if you consistently experience these symptoms2:

  • Low mood
  • Irritability
  • Loss in interest
  • Poor sleep
  • Poor appetite
  • Excessive self-blame or guilt
  • Feeling hopeless, or that life is meaningless

These symptoms are usually short-lasting, and most mothers do not need medical attention. The support, encouragement and reassurance from loved ones can often overcome a minor bout of low mood.

However, if symptoms persist for 2 or more weeks, speak to your gynaecologist or any trusted doctor.

How to Support your Wife Along the Way

Fathers-to-be play the most important supporting role in the pregnancy and baby care journey. Your emotional support and physical presence can make a world of difference to the experience.

Make Effort To Be Present at Every Step of the Journey

Antenatal Care Visits

Where possible, accompany your wife to her antenatal appointments. Keep close tabs on her progress. Make sure she keeps to her appointments and follows the doctor's instructions. Demonstrate your enthusiasm and share your concerns. Always let your wife know you both are in it together.

Antenatal/Parentcraft Classes

First-timer parents may find antenatal/parentcraft classes useful to prepare themselves for the baby’s arrival. You can pick up tips on baby care and meet other parents to form support groups. You can also learn to spot the signs of labour, so that when these happen, you will be ready to handle the situation.

Read HPB Parent Hub, Among Other Reliable Resources, and Engage in Constructive Discussion

Look for science-based information and help each other learn more about the journey ahead. There are many free pregnancy apps available, and you may wish to use one to keep track of the pregnancy. Click here for the list of services and support helplines that may come in handy.

Recognise What Your Wife May Be Feeling

Pregnant women cope with many physiological changes, which could impact moods. Recognising the changes she is going through is the first step to helping her. Provide a listening ear and pay attention to her emotions. If you notice that the antenatal blues are serious and prolonged, suggest she see a doctor or a counsellor.

Take care of your relationship

Pregnancy is a unique opportunity to strengthen your marriage. Don’t forget key principles like open communication and regular quality time together!

Read more: Hey Dads! Here Are 8 Ways To Get Involved

The ABCs Of Functioning Well As A New Family Unit Going Forward

Ask For Help From Other Family Members and Friends

Don’t hesitate to accept help from others during the pregnancy, postpartum period, as well as after. Practical household help can provide much relief for you to get needed rest. Trusted family members or friends can prepare meals, run errands, or care for children in the home.

Be an Involved Dad

Besides supporting your wife, be ready to take on baby care tasks, such as bathing, diaper changing, burping the baby or sharing night-time duties. Remember that your wife will be recovering physically from childbirth and needs plenty of rest.

Create a Care Routine for Your Newborn

As challenging as it sounds, strive to develop a routine to make caring for a newborn easier with each passing day. Start by introducing a sequence when it comes to key activities such as sleeping, feeding and playing, and adjust accordingly as your baby grows.

Your Mental-Wellbeing Matters

As parents-to-be, caring for your own health – both physical and mental – is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Reach out for support if you are finding it hard to cope. If you continuously experience pre-natal depression symptoms, do reach out to a medical professional for advice.

Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides for a healthy pregnancy.


1 Center for Housing Initiatives for Learning & Development. (2021, April). Maternal mental health and well-being during pregnancy linked to brain development and function in children. Retrieved November 26, 2021, from https://thechild.sg/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2021/07/EI_001_CHILD_Importance-of-Maternal-Mood_For-Circulation-digital.pdf.

2 SingHealth. (2019, March 27). Perinatal Depression. Retrieved November 26, 2021, from https://polyclinic.singhealth.com.sg/patient-care/conditions-treatments/perinatal-depression-mental-wellness.