Why have I got anxiety? – Risk factors for postnatal anxiety

No one knows for sure what causes perinatal anxiety, but there are some factors that appear to make it more likely you will develop it. These include:

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  • Having pregnancy and/or birth complications.
  • Having a perfectionist temperament.
  • Previous or current mental illness.
  • Family history of mental illness.
  • Having high expectations of parenthood.
  • Experience high levels of self-criticism.
  • Having more than one baby.
  • Being in a domestic violence relationship.

But there is good news – there are also protective factors that may help avoid or lessen symptoms of anxiety. These include:

  • Good support networks with family and/or friends.
  • Talking about your feelings to someone you trust.
  • Looking after your physical health e.g. getting enough sleep, exercise, eating well etc.
  • Looking after your mental health e.g. relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and mindfulness etc.
  • Building your resilience

More good news – if you do not have these things already, then you can develop them. Check out our section on self-help to find out how.

Look after yourself and seek help, if you need it.