Many women and men face major changes in their lives when they become parents. It is a thrilling and exciting time, but also involves complex physiological and hormonal changes alongside emotional adjustments.
Midwives are interested in your emotional as well as physical health and, at the initial booking interview, will ask about any past or current mental health issues and how you are feeling now. At every appointment the midwife will ask about your emotional well-being and, if required, signpost you to where you can get advice and extra help.
The Trust has a perinatal mental health nurse who supports maternity staff in caring for the mental health of women and their families. Ensuring that women with mental health needs are correctly identified and working with other services and professionals, receive the right care at the right time.
You can find out more about perinatal mental health by downloading our information leaflet on Emotional Wellbeing in Pregnancy.
The Best Beginnings website provides a number of videos providing information and support on mental health issues during pregnancy and birth.
The Wellbeing plan can be used by you to discuss your emotional wellbeing in pregnancy with your midwife and to think about the type of support you may need to look after your mental health whilst pregnant.
Medication during pregnancy
If you are taking medication in pregnancy for a mental health condition and want some information about it, the B.U.M.P.S ( Best Use of Medications in Pregnancy) website provides accessible information for women and their families. This is provided by the U.K. Teratology Information Service funded by Public Health England.
If you have any concerns about your medication please discuss with your GP or psychiatrist.
Below is a range of contacts that offer support to families and new parents. It is okay to admit you’re not perfect and need help. Most people will be glad to hear your experience so they can either get the courage to open up or take comfort that they are not alone.
- Action Postpartum – Psychosis-app-network.org – Information and support for anyone who has experienced postpartum psychosis, including a peer support network and online forum.
- Anxiety UK – 0844 477 5774 anxietyuk.org.uk – Support and help for anyone with an anxiety disorder.
- The Association for PostNatal Illness – 020 7386 0868 – apni.org – Provides support to mothers with postnatal depression.
- Birth trauma Association – birthtraumassociation.org.uk – Support for women and their partners who have experienced traumatic childbirth.
- The Breastfeeding Network – 0300 100 0212 – breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk – Includes information on drugs and breastfeeding
- Family Action – family-action.org.uk – Services for families, including mental health support.
- Fatherhood Institute – fatherhoodinstitute.org – The UK’s fatherhood think-tank. Providing training information, policy updates and guides for supporting families and their families.
- Maternal OCD – maternalocd.org – Information and support for people experiencing perinatal OCD.
- MoodGYM – moodgym.anu.edu.au – Provides free computerisedCBT.
- No Panic – 0844 967 4848 – nopanic.org.uk – Provides a helpline, step by step programmes and support for those with anxiety disorders
- PANDAS – pandasfoundation.org.uk – Information and support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem during or after pregnancy
- PND & ME – pndandme.co.uk – Online network connecting people with experience of perinatal mental health problems through Twitter.
- Tommy’s – tommy’s.org – Support and information on pregnancy including mental health problems.
Twitter chats involve a group of people logging on to Twitter at an agreed time (usually for an hour) and discussing a topic. It’s essential to add #nameofchat to all tweets so that they are visible to all participating. The chat can be followed using the searchbar as described in Level One. Below is a non-exhaustive list of relevant chats in no particular order. These are all joined by healthcare professionals and people with lived experience alike, though some have a greater proportion of one or the other.
1. #PNDHour is the biggest perinatal mental health chat and runs at 8pm on Wednesdays. It encompasses all perinatal mental health, not just PND. It’s hosted by Rosey (@PNDandMe) and sometimes by me (@cooksferryqueen).
2. #PNDChat is the same crowd as above but runs all the time, and with more of a peer support focus. Tweets are checked daily by Rosey or one of us.
3. #birthtraumachat runs at 8pm on Mondays and is hosted by @ghostwritermumm, @maternitymattrs, and @unfoldurwings. Be mindful that this one can be very triggering and is to be approached with caution by those with unresolved birth trauma.
4. #pregnancyhour runs at 8pm on Tuesdays and is hosted by @Bump2Tot2014. Sadly it gets used for advertising a fair bit which can intrude on discussion.
5. #MatExp is a large social campaign, seeking to improve maternity services (http://matexp.org.uk/) The hashtag runs continuously and perinatal mental health is discussed alongside other topics relevant to the postnatal period. Affiliated campaigns of #MatExp include #MaternityMatters, #WhoseShoes, and #NobodysPatient.
There are also non perinatal specific mental health chats, such as #bpdchat and #ptsdchat, which can be worth looking in on.