Pregnancy Psychology: What It Is and When It's Applied

Pregnancy psychology aims to provide solutions to psychological problems that may arise before, during and after pregnancy. Here you'll learn what it is and when it's applied.
Pregnancy Psychology: What It Is and When It's Applied
Mara Amor López

Written and verified by the psychologist Mara Amor López.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Pregnancy is a time full of changes in a woman’s body. But not only for her, but also for the environment around her. These changes occur on both a physical and psychological level. Thus, pregnancy psychology arises to respond to these changes.

Before becoming pregnant, all women may think that it’s a wonderful time – and that’s true in many ways. But it’s also a period of many emotional changes. Sometimes we feel lonely, fearful, and we suffer from stress. And, even after childbirth, “postpartum depression” can appear.

These worries can be more bearable if experts in pregnancy psychology or perinatal psychology help us to control the worries or overcome all the emotional problems that arise in the process of conception, pregnancy and childbirth in the early stages.

What is pregnancy psychology?

Pregnancy psychology is the branch of psychology that is responsible for providing solutions to all the psychological aspects that may arise before and during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum. It helps mothers to establish the bond with their baby, and provides guidance in parenting in the early stages.

Pregnancy Psychology: What It Is and When It's Applied

In short, pregnancy psychology gives tools and knowledge to expectant mothers. That way, they’ll be able to deal with any difficulties that arise in these stages, which are so important in their lives. Therefore, perinatal or pregnancy psychology aims to improve wellbeing and quality of life. Not just for mothers, but for their babies and the rest of the family as well.

Problems that mothers and fathers may face

Different situations may arise in our lives that put us to the test and require us to adapt in order to overcome them and evolve. Motherhood is one of them, because it changes the life we had until then, especially if we’re first-time mothers and we have to adapt to a new reality.

Pregnancy psychology intervenes in different problems such as:

  • Difficulties regarding conception
  • Fears during pregnancy and childbirth
  • Complicated and traumatic births
  • Babies born prematurely
  • Losing a baby and the grieving process
  • Problems with breastfeeding
  • Help in developing a healthy bond with the baby
  • Difficulties adjusting to parenthood
  • Postpartum depression or other ailments associated with this stage
  • Protecting the mental health of both parents and their baby

When pregnancy psychology is applied

The expectant mother’s perception of pregnancy

The psychology professional will inquire about how the mother received the news or if it was a planned pregnancy or not. Because, depending on that, there will be different repercussions in her life and her environment. She’s given information about the pregnancy and the changes that will appear, physically, psychologically and socially.

Pregnancy Psychology: What It Is and When It's Applied

Psychoeducation of the father

It’s very important to explain to the father his new role. They too need to be born as fathers. For that, they need to have the information regarding their new situation, how he’s coping with it, how he perceives it, etc.

Emotional management

In this area, what we try to achieve is that both partners share the same strategies to promote emotional well-being and enjoy this new stage that’s about to begin in their lives. Pregnancy psychology identifies thoughts, emotions and behaviors that are harmful to the pregnant woman and the baby. Therefore, it provides guidelines to redirect these behaviors and thoughts, to promote mental health, and the welfare of your baby.

Preventing psychological disorders during the postpartum period

Mainly, through psychoeducation, guidelines are provided to the mother so that she knows how to identify the warning signs of the most common disorders such as mild depression (postpartum sadness), major postpartum depression, or postpartum psychosis. If you’re pregnant and think you may need the help of pregnancy psychology, don’t hesitate to seek a professional to help you through this stage that’s sometimes very complicated.

It’s important to know that emotions produce the release of hormones that trigger physiological changes. The impact on the development of the pregnancy will depend on whether these emotions are positive or negative.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.