The phenomenon of pregnancy - a psychological view

Ginekol Pol. 2018;89(2):102-106. doi: 10.5603/GP.a2018.0017.


Pregnancy is a very specific and complex period in a woman's life. The accompanying changes are observed not only on the biological/physiological plane but also in her psychological and social functioning. Altered psychological functioning can occur from the very beginning to the end of pregnancy, including the postpartum period. During pregnancy, visible changes occur in the body's appearance, as well as in femininity, affections, and sexuality, whereas the woman's position and role are gaining new qualities. To a greater or lesser degree, every expectant mother experiences psychological am-bivalence, frequent mood changes from exhaustion to exaltation, emotional disturbances, and/or mixed anxiety-depressive disorder. In addition, pregnancy causes a number of specific apprehensions concerning the course and outcome, which makes the woman particularly vulnerable and requires adequate treatment, depending on the adaptive capacities of her personality. Furthermore, from a psychosocial aspect, pregnancy could be considered a specific highly emotional state, which may be a potent stressor. Perinatal maternal stress can lead to different complications that may have far-reaching consequences for both somatic and psychic functioning of the newborn. This review considers pregnancy as a complex psychological phenomenon and explores multiple changes in the woman's psychological functioning in both normal and psychologically complicated courses of pregnancy.

Keywords: mental health; pregnancy; psychology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*