Are you worried about managing your ADHD while pregnant?

Dear future ADHD momma,

I know you are scared, overwhelmed, and feeling nervous about being pregnant. You are likely thinking the times growing up when you struggled and barely got by. Maybe you are picturing all the bruises along the way as you tried to figure out this neurotypical world. You are not alone! In this post you will learn 3 quick tips to help you during your pregnancy. 

If you are worried about how to manage yourself, work, being a wife, chores, and a mom, you are in the right place. Even before meeting my husband, I doubted my capability all the time. In fact, I let this worry prevent me from truly being “available” in relationships for nearly a decade. Now that I am a mother of a nearly 4-year-old I am not just managing, I am loving it. However, there are tips I wish I had when I was starting out on the motherhood journey. Things that would have made it easier but that will always be the case. For now, I recommend focusing on 3 things. 

3 tips in supporting you during this amazing, wild, scary ride called pregnancy!


1. Break down the to do lists.

Being extra tired during pregnancy you might not have energy or the attention span to swift through the huge books on what to do in preparation for your baby. Personally, as an ADHD momma myself, I found looking up questions on-line to be disorganizing for my brain. Regardless of the decision you make about staying on medication during pregnancy or going off of it, all the tasks during pregnancy can seem daunting.  Good news is that many women with ADHD report that the increase in estrogen during pregnancy lessened their ADHD symptoms. Some even report feeling the best they have felt while pregnant.

This was true for me, and I wish I would have known that this beforehand. However, the to do lists were still overwhelming for me and for many women with ADHD. This is because after a certain number of things we are holding in mind, our brain starts to feel more disorganized and scattered. In my opinion, feeling overwhelmed with too much to do is one of the most common emotional triggers for woman with ADHD.

It is important to note:  For some women with greater sensitivity to hormone shifts or who struggled with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder you may have a slight risk for developing a perinatal mood disorder during pregnancy or postpartum. Therefore, it is important to notice if you have an increase in anxiety or shifts in mood. This does not mean something is wrong with you. A lot of times women struggle in silence for far too long thinking this is just how pregnancy must be. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Finding a therapist who understands ADHD and perinatal mental health can really make a difference in how you are managing day to day. This means, the “to do lists” won’t be AS overwhelming for you.

For more help:

*If you or someone you know is struggling during their pregnancy PSI has a directory you can search for a therapist in your area: Postpartum Support International – PSI

*Coming Soon: The ADHD roadmap during pregnancy. The cliff notes version of pregnancy and beyond is all done for you inside this digital guide. Each section is focused specifically on areas/stages of pregnancy-that we ADHDer’s- might find overwhelming or difficult to manage. Then, things are broken down with suggested tips to focus on for that stage. So, if you are finding other information out there on preparing for motherhood not delivered in a way that makes sense to your ADHD brains, then I think you will really appreciate this roadmap.


2. It’s all about mindset!

Future ADHD momma, I want you to really hear this! While you are pregnant try to lower expectations for yourself! Show yourself some grace and cut yourself some slack. You are growing a human after all! 🙂 If you know you are triggered by making a mistake at work, try intersecting that internal dialogue. You know the one, the one that goes right towards beating yourself up. Instead say “oh, well, not a big deal.”

As woman with ADHD, we tend to be extra hard on ourselves and hyper aware of how others might perceive a mistake we made. It’s like we have an impossible bar set for ourselves that doesn’t allow much room to make mistakes. Going into your pregnancy with a positive mindset that is forgiving, compassionate and understanding will go a long way. I’m not saying it is as easy as having a positive outlook BUT mindset does play a HUGE role in our wellbeing. Think of it this way, by having a positive mindset for yourself you are already practicing and modeling this for you growing baby. 


3. Exercise, mindfulness, nutrition, sleep, creativity, nature

I saved the obvious one for last. Future ADHD momma, one thing I know to be true is that whatever is GOOD for everyone, is GREAT for baby and VITAL for someone with ADHD. Yes, of course you know exercise, nutrition, good sleep, and practicing mindfulness are helpful tips. However, for someone with ADHD finding the right “fit” related to these things can mean the difference of scrapping at the bottom of an empty pit, to pouring from an overflowing cup.

It took me until my mid 40’s to finally admit that I should see a nutritionist to try and help my symptoms. After the birth of my son my gut, hormonal issues, and allergies were worse. Hands down, made a HUGE difference in my functioning. I wish I would have seen a functional nutritionist a long time ago. So future momma, if you haven’t explored the role of nutrition in your whole-body symptoms that is my tip to pass on to you. You won’t regret it.

I talked about those things in my other blog post, 5 ways to support your ADHD during the transition into motherhood. However, one area that isn’t talked about enough is the important role of engaging in creativity and nature to support managing ADHD symptoms. Pause with me future ADHD momma and reflect back on times when felt most alive and centered, it’s likely that you were engaging in something creative, outdoors or I should also add being around animals. Sometimes during our pregnancy, we need to be more intentional about doing these things. Other times we just need to do more of it.

In closing, float back to a memory when you thought you couldn’t do something. I bet you proved yourself wrong, because future ADHD momma, you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. 

In my next blog post I will write about the 3 key ADHD traits to focus on “mastering” before baby comes.