Perinatal Mental Health

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What is Perinatal Mental Health?

The perinatal period is the time from conception, throughout your pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal period, until your baby reaches one year of age.

How could my pregnancy affect my mental health?

Pregnancy and having a baby can be an exciting time, but not everyone feels this way. It can bring demands and challenges that you may find difficult.

During the perinatal period, one in five service users and one in ten partners will experience mental health concerns; including anxiety and depression.

Managing pre-existing mental health conditions

If you have experienced a mental health concern or have a pre-existing diagnosis of a mental health condition it is advisable to discuss this with your GP and Midwife, they will be able to advise you on wellbeing strategies as well as advise on any medication you may be prescribed.

It is not advised to stop medication abruptly once you find out you are pregnant, may medications for mental health conditions are safe to take in pregnancy and during breast feeding, your GP and Midwife will be able to refer you to a specialist for advice.

Signs and symptoms you may be experiencing

  • Feeling low/unhappy
  • Tearful
  • Tired but unable to sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Anxious and/or irritable
  • Wanting to be alone
  • Numb or empty
  • Low self esteem/feeling of inadequacy
  • Thoughts of self harm
  • Unwanted voices and/or images/Paranoia
  • Experienced birth trauma

You are not alone, let us know how you are feeling,  help available include:

  • Registered GP
  • Midwife—09.00—17.00 – 01908 996 484
  • Health Visitor—Monday—Friday 09.30—16.30 – 01908 725 100
  • Milton Keynes Talking Therapies—Monday—Friday – 01908 725 099 –
  • 111 for advice/support or 999 in an emergency
  • Accident and Emergency department

Maintaining emotional wellbeing

  • Gentle exercise every day—this could be a swim or a walk, what ever you enjoy.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet, reducing caffeine
  • Have a sleep routine, reduce TV time prior to bed
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid smoking
  • Talk to your health professional about how you are feeling.
  • Build a support network—walking group, Antenatal classes, Mum and baby groups, Children’s Centre

Other support and resources

For out of area birthing persons, please speak to your community midwife for advice