Parental Emotional Health

Parental Antenatal Mood

Having a baby can be an exciting time, but often people have mixed feelings as they get used to the idea. Some people may feel happy and excited most of the time. Lots of people have times when they feel down or stressed - this is normal.

There are a lot of changes happening in the body of the pregnant person, and emotionally for both parents. There is a lot to think about. Take your time to get used to the pregnancy.

It can be really hard for the pregnant person to ‘enjoy’ being pregnant if they are feeling ill – this is understandable. A lot of the early symptoms get better as the weeks pass and you may find this helps your feel more positive.

It can feel like you have to know everything about being a parent, but you really don’t. You and your baby will both be learning about each other in the early days. Your baby will feel your love and know they can rely on you.

Dive Deeper

Tips To Help Your Mood

Everybody adjusts to the idea of being a parent at their own pace. Try not to worry if you can’t quite believe it, or if you don’t feel as excited as you expected to straight away.

  • Whenever you can spend time relaxing and stroking the baby bump.
  • Imagine what your baby will be like – this can help you build an early bond with your baby.
  • Picture the things you are looking forward to doing with your baby once they arrive.
  • Take care of yourself; eat well, get regular exercise and attend all of your antenatal appointments.
  • Practice relaxation techniques – they will help both parents now, during labour and when you are caring for a Newborn.

Talking and singing to your baby while they’re still in the womb can help both parents begin to build a lasting bond. It can help you begin to feel a stronger connection with your baby and make it seem more ‘real’. This can help you feel more positive and lift your mood.

Your unborn baby will learn to recognise and remember important voices during pregnancy. The ‘chats’ that you have with your bump are good for you both.

It can help you feel more confident and ‘ready’ if you do some thinking about how you want to parent and what your baby will need to feel cared for, safe and secure.

Watch Pathway to Parenting - Antenatal Education Programme


Pregnancy can be a time when you feel very close to your partner or at times it can put a lot of pressure on you both. You and your partner may not feel the same way about the pregnancy at the same time.

Pregnancy sometimes feels real to the pregnant person sooner - because they are already experiencing the physical changes and lifestyle changes it brings. Try and talk together about how you are feeling and share the experience with each other.

If you are in a troubled relationship this can really affect your mood and how you feel about becoming a parent. It is not good for unborn babies, or for their parents, to be around arguments and upsets. It is important that the people in your life are safe to be around for you and your baby.

Read more about relationships and support available 

Getting Help

If your worries and feelings start to make every day a struggle, and feel too much to cope with - talk with your Midwife, GP or Health Visitor. Health professionals are always available to support both parents.

It is always better for your baby when you ask for help. Health Professionals can help you understand your thoughts and feelings. They can help think of ways to make it feel better for you.

Pregnancy During Covid

This is a worrying time for everyone - especially when you have been asked to be extra careful because of your pregnancy.

There is a lot of information out there but not all of it is true. Stick to well known websites- like those from GOV.UK and NHS, or pages linked to from them.

  • Talk to your midwifery team about your worries.
  • Stay in touch with friends and family – use calls, facetime, emails and texts to keep in the loop.
  • Spend time thinking about and looking forward to your baby – this is a special time try not to let worry make you forget that.
  • Use mindfulness and relaxation techniques to keep calm for you and your baby (it will be a useful in labour too!).
  • Use the time to feel prepared – have at look at the online Pathway to Parenting - antenatal education course.

Who can Help?

Talk to your midwife, health visitor, or GP if you are struggling to have positive feelings about your unborn baby or worried about how you are feeling.

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

Living Well with Baby Webinar - Workshops for parents and carers with a baby, where the stresses of the parenting role is impacting on their wellbeing.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.

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