Natural Remedies for Anxiety During Pregnancy

Last Updated: September 26, 2023
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

By Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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It’s safe to say that most people have heard of the more common postpartum mood disorders (depression and anxiety), but did you know that many women suffer with anxiety and depression during pregnancy too? 

And if you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense, right? I mean bringing a baby into the world is a pretty big and stressful life event! But just because it is normal and expected, doesn’t mean you have to ignore it. Especially if it’s impacting your day-to-day life in a significant way.

So today, let’s take a deep dive into anxiety during pregnancy and discuss natural remedies to manage anxiety during pregnancy too.

Ready to de-stress? Let’s get to it!

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Why might you experience anxiety during pregnancy?

Anxiety is a normal, human response to a stressful situation. As I mentioned above, pregnancy and having a baby can both be very stressful events for mamas-to-be.

And aside from it being a normal response to a stressful situation, there are also physiological things that happen during pregnancy that might increase your risk for anxiety.

For one, hormones. Hormones are actually to “blame” for a whole lotta things during pregnancy – and anxiety is no exception. I could try and put it into my own words but this article, written by Dr. Kimmel, co-director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Program at UNC, does a far better job of explaining how pregnancy and hormonal changes can affect your mental health.  

Other reasons for anxiety during pregnancy can be related to difficulty sleeping, logistics involving missing work due to not feeling well, frequent prenatal visits, and simply just the emotional rollercoaster that is pregnancy.

Who is at risk for anxiety during pregnancy?

Really anyone is at risk for developing anxiety during pregnancy. But there are some factors that might put you at an increased risk:

  • History of anxiety or other mood disorders
  • High-risk or complicated pregnancy
  • History of miscarriage or stillbirth 
  • Previous birth trauma 
  • Lack of social or family support 

The above list is not exhaustive by any means. Sometimes anxiety in pregnancy occurs in women with absolutely zero risk factors. For this reason, it’s important to be familiar with the risk factors, signs and symptoms, and remedies for anxiety during pregnancy. 

Natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy

The good news is that there are many things that you, as a pregnant mama, can do to cope with and manage anxiety during pregnancy. Below I’m going to go over more than a dozen natural remedies that you can start today!

Reframe your thoughts

Sometimes a shift in your mindset is enough to help combat anxiety. This can be a challenge for some people, especially without the assistance of other remedies, so don’t get discouraged if you have difficulty doing this.

Prioritize sleep

Easier said than done, right? Believe me though, making a point to carve out some extra rest time during pregnancy can make a world of difference. 

The benefits of adequate sleep are many (pregnant or not!) with a big one being an increased ability to manage and cope with certain mood disorders such as anxiety.


Meditation involves focusing on an object, image, or word to help control your thoughts and calm your mind. Meditation has lots of benefits and can be started at any point during pregnancy – the earlier the better in fact! 

Meditation is a great way to help manage stress and anxiety and can be beneficial even if you aren’t at an increased risk for prenatal anxiety.

Deep breathing

This one goes hand-in-hand with meditation. While deep breathing can be practiced on its own, a lot of meditation exercises actually incorporate deep breathing into them. 

Deep breathing exercises don’t have to be complicated or time consuming, but can be so beneficial for pregnant mamas!

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Yoga and prenatal exercise

Stress reduction and mood improvement are only two of the many benefits of prenatal exercise. 

In addition to helping minimize pregnancy discomforts and possibly resulting in an easier postpartum recovery, exercise is a great way to combat and cope with anxiety during pregnancy.

Related Reading: Prenatal Fitness: What’s the Deal?


Aromatherapy and essential oils are a great way to naturally reduce anxiety during pregnancy. Aromatherapy isn’t for everyone though, especially for pregnant mamas that might be extra sensitive to smells. 

Different oils can be used for different things, and not all oils are safe for use during pregnancy, so make sure you really do your research before getting started.

Lavender is well-known for its calming effects, and diffusing a few drops in an oil diffuser or burning a lavender candle can be instantly calming.

Related Reading: Essential Oils for Pregnancy

Herbal teas

Consuming herbal tea during pregnancy can be a good way to combat anxiety. Similarly to essential oils, not all herbal teas are considered safe to consume during pregnancy, so make sure to check this out before drinking.

Some herbal teas that are pregnancy safe and known for their calming effects include: peppermint, lemon balm, chamomile, and lavender.


For many pregnant women, massage is the ultimate form of relaxation and a great way to decompress. Well actually, let me rephrase that, for many women, massage is the ultimate form of relaxation (I know it is for me!).

If you are considered high-risk or have any pregnancy concerns, be sure to talk to your provider before getting a massage. And also be sure to choose a masseuse who has experience working with pregnant women.

Limit caffeine

The big thing with caffeine consumption is that it can impact sleep. Sleep deprivation doesn’t do anyone any favors, especially during pregnancy. 

While it is typically safe to consume up to 200 mg of caffeine per day during pregnancy, if you are someone that struggles with anxiety or are at an increased risk for developing prenatal anxiety, I would recommend limiting it even more.

Hydration and nutrition

Dehydration and poor nutrition during pregnancy can leave you feeling exhausted, sluggish, and just plain blah. Often, that combination goes hand-in-hand with poor sleep habits, which can lead to increased anxiety. 

Staying hydrated and filling your body with nutritious food is always important, but even more so during pregnancy.  


This is a big one and is why I started Mommy Labor Nurse to begin with. Education is key when preparing for any major life event, and pregnancy and birth is no exception. 

When I ask mamas-to-be what their biggest fears, stressors, and anxieties are about birth, I most commonly hear that it’s the fear of the unknown. 

Education and preparation can allow you to be a more active participant in your birth experience and puts you in a better position to advocate for you and your baby.

Learn More: Mommy Labor Nurse Online Birth Courses


Journaling is a wonderful way for you to work through stressful and anxiety provoking emotions during pregnancy. Some women, especially those with a more creative brain, view journaling as a productive outlet to help cope with prenatal anxiety. 

There are no rules when it comes to journaling. I encourage you to do what feels most comfortable.

Talk therapy

Did you know that there are counselors and therapists that specialize in pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period? 

Regardless of their “specialty”, finding a licensed person to talk to throughout your pregnancy can help minimize anxiety – not only during the prenatal period but during postpartum as well. 

Self care

Last but certainly not least, self care. As a mama it is so incredibly easy to neglect our own needs. I literally find myself doing it every single day.  

Carving out some time for myself each and every day is such a game changer for my mental health, and I encourage you to do the same.

Related Reading: Ways to Relax and De-stress during Pregnancy

Signs you may need more support to manage your anxiety during pregnancy

Anxiety looks different on different people. And like I mentioned earlier, it is expected to have some anxiety during pregnancy. But if it starts affecting your daily life, it’s important to utilize some of these strategies, lean into your support system, and talk to your provider.

Some signs you may need more support to manage your anxiety during pregnancy include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea (unrelated to morning sickness)
  • Difficulty relaxing or sleeping
  • Tense muscles
  • Inability to turn off your mind at night
  • Chest tightening or heart palpitations
  • Constantly worrying about baby’s well-being
  • Regularly experiencing fearful and/or intrusive thoughts 

I can’t stress enough the importance of addressing anxiety during pregnancy instead of waiting. Untreated prenatal anxiety can lead to postpartum anxiety, so be sure to seek help as soon as possible. 

More from Mommy Labor Nurse about perinatal mental health

Prenatal and postpartum mood disorders don’t get enough attention; this leaves women feeling ashamed and embarrassed by their feelings and emotions and like something is “wrong” with them.

I have been very open about my personal experience with postpartum anxiety in hopes that it will encourage other women to discuss their journeys as well.

The more we talk about and normalize maternal mood disorders, the more we can support each other. After all, we’re all in this motherhood journey together!

If you want to learn even more, here are a few amazing podcast episodes I’ve recorded with experts in the perinatal mental health space.

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Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve spent countless hours with women who felt anxious — even fearful — about giving birth. I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way for you!

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