Healthy mind, body and baby perinatal mental heath image 1.png

Pregnancy and the period after your baby is born (known as the perinatal period) are often talked about as the happiest time in a parent’s life. This can cause pressure, leading to feeling that you should or ought to be ‘happy’. But sometimes it doesn’t always feel that way.

In the perinatal period you are more likely to need support for your mental health. There are lots of changes that come with pregnancy and parenthood – physical, hormonal along with changes to relationships and social groups – all of which can affect you differently at different times.

Emotional wellbeing, or mental health, is just as important as physical health. Up to one in five women and one in ten men are affected by mental health problems during the perinatal period, and recent research shows this number might in fact be even higher.

This film, produced by Perinatal Positivity, uses the real voices and experiences of women and men who have had mental wellbeing difficulties around the time of pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.

Asking about your mental health

At your first appointment with your midwife, you will be asked about your physical and mental health history including family history to help plan your care.

During your pregnancy and after you have had your baby, your midwife will continue to ask you about your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Through discussion with you, your midwife will offer options for support.

Pregnancy and parenthood can be a challenging time, and it’s important to stay well.  The first step is to speak to someone about how you’re feeling. 

Seeking help is not always easy, especially when you are not feeling well. However, taking that first step of asking for support shows strength, courage and will always be viewed as a positive step. There are support and treatment options available that might be able to help you to cope with your difficulties.

Medication in pregnancy and breast feeding

Balancing choices - picture of see-saw balance

If you are currently taking medication for your mental health DO NOT STOP without seeking medical advice.

Further information on medication during pregnancy is available on the BUMPS website.

You can still breastfeed whilst taking most medications for your mental health. Further information is available on the Lactmed website.

Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Midwife

Hello my name is Clare Yates 

I am the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Midwife at East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals. I will be part of your care during your journey through pregnancy and into parenthood if your mental health difficulties are identified as severe or complex by your health care team.

I work closely with the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health service and other mental health teams.

It is my role to ensure that you are provided with compassionate, non-judgemental supportive care, to empower you to make your own decisions.

Together, we can discuss your preferences for care around pregnancy and birth. We will promote your relationship with your baby and provide you with additional information about how your mental health and medication can impact on your pregnancy and breastfeeding.

We are available as a resource for other professionals with regards to perinatal mental health to support women to access the most appropriate care / service to meet their needs.

 

Mental health support services

Preconception referrals

Your GP or mental health worker can refer to the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health team for pre-conception advice.

 

Psychological therapy

Trained therapists and counsellors provide a range of different therapies through the NHS, known as IAPT services (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies

This includes talking therapy for people experiencing mild to moderate depression, general anxiety and worry, panic attacks, social anxiety, traumatic memories and obsessive compulsive disorder.   Parents can self-refer to all IAPT services and will be prioritised.  Please use the link below for self-referral to Mindsmatter or Lancashire Women’s Centre IAPT services. (Lancashire Women’s Centre IAPT not available in Blackburn With Darwen).

 https://www.lscft.nhs.uk/mindsmatter2-self-referral

https://lancashirewomen.org/get-support/mental-health/therapy-for-you

 

Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services

If your mental health problems are severe or longer lasting, the maternity team can put you in touch with specialist mental health services.

Women in need of inpatient care for severe mental illness may be referred to a mother and baby unit (MBU). These units enable women to stay with their babies while receiving specialist care.

https://www.lscft.nhs.uk/perinatal-mental-health

 

Help in an emergency

If you know, or are looking after, a parent who you believe is in crisis or there is an immediate risk to a mother, baby or others:

Monday to Friday 9am-5pm please call the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team on 01254 612731

The rest of the time please ring your local Home Treatment (Crisis) Team. https://www.lscft.nhs.uk/crisis

Please note, you may be asked to attend the Emergency Department at Royal Blackburn Hospital for urgent assessment.

 

Other support and information

Peer support

Peer support brings together people with similar experiences. Your peers can:

  • support you and listen to how you’re feeling
  • offer empathy and understanding
  • share experiences, information, suggestions for self-care and support options

Action on Postpartum Psychosis: https://www.app-network.org/

Support for Dads: https://www.annafreud.org/early-years/our-work-with-under-fives/our-projects-with-families-experiencing-difficulties/mind-the-dad/

Empower self-help techniques:  https://elht.nhs.uk/services/empower/maternity