Pregnancy can be a very stressful time and it is normal to feel some emotional changes during this period, particularly when you are undergoing hormonal changes related to pregnancy. Experiencing mental health difficulties can have a negative impact on your motivation which makes it even more difficult to seek help.
What do I need to know?
You are the most important person in your baby's life. It can be easy to forget about your own needs during your pregnancy and in the early months after birth because the main focus is on your baby. As these are the most vulnerable months of your baby's life, it is vital that you are as healthy as possible through this period.
Approximately 1 in 5 women experience depression, anxiety, or other emotional difficulties during this period. For some women, these may not be severe and don't last very long. For others, they become worse which can make it difficult to enjoy motherhood and get on with life.
If you experience these difficulties, it is essential that you are given the right type of support as soon as possible. There are a range of different treatments and services available to help with your recovery.
How likely am I to experience other difficulties?
Mental health difficulties during pregnancy and in the months after giving birth can happen to anyone - regardless of background, age, race life circumstances or past history. In addition, hormonal changes during pregnancy and the postnatal period affect different women in different ways. One person may be able to come with these changes, whilst another person may find it more challenging.
There is no single cause why women (and men) develop mental health difficulties during this period. Some common contributing factors could be:
- uncertainty about parenthood
- physical complications in pregnancy
- birth events which differ from parents expectations
- feelings of disappointment if parenthood is not what you expected
- changes in your relationships and social life
- lack of sleep
- lack of support from friends and/or family
- other significant stressful events (eg loss of job; physical illness; relocation; relationship breakdown; bereavement, etc)
If you have experienced previous mental health problems, or if someone in your family has had mental health difficulties during pregnancy or after giving birth, you may be at increased risk.
Click on the links to find out more.
|Antenatal depression||Postnatal depression||Anxiety and other difficulties||Healthy relationships|
Further sources of information
Home-Start is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. We are there for parents when they need us the most because childhood can’t wait.
We can help you make choices about treatment, understand your rights or reach out to sources of support.
National Childbirth Trust
We are the UK’s leading charity for parents, for your First 1,000 Days - right through your pregnancy, birth and beyond
The Fatherhood Institute
The Fatherhood Institute is the UK’s fatherhood think-and-do-tank
Action on Postpartum Psychosis
We are the national charity for women and families affected by Postpartum Psychosis
Relationship support for everyone
ICON - Babies cry - You can cope
A programme that provides information about infant crying and how to cope.
Local sources of help
Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Service (IAPTS)
Tel: 0300 365 2000
Problems such as anxiety, depression, stress and phobias are very common. Talking Therapies is a friendly and approachable service that helps people with these problems
Tel: 0186 5901600
We offer a range of free, tried and tested NHS psychological therapies that help with:
Long Term Health Conditions
Tel: 0238 038 3920
italk is your local talking therapy service for people aged 16 and over. Our treatments are free of charge and you can self-refer without needing to see your GP.
Surrey & Borders
Tel: 0300 330 5450
We provide talking therapies to adults (18+) registered with a GP in Surrey who are experiencing commong mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and stress.
Tel: 01483 746 900
We're Addaction. We're one of the UK's leading drug, alcohol and mental health charities. We believe everyone can change.