It is important to remember that every mother to be will experience their own variety of emotions leading up to and after the birth and that it is quite regularly reported that expecting mothers feel a mixture of positive and negative emotions. Perinatal Mental Health applies to the period, typically a number of weeks, prior to and after the birth. Perinatal Mental Health can impair a women’s experience of motherhood as well as impact on the baby’s development and mental health.
The Baby Blues typically occur in the first week after the birth. Mothers often report symptoms of feeling low, anxious and tearful but these feelings will typically alleviate within a week or so. Attributed to hormonal changes following birth, the Baby Blues are not severe and should have no long term effects. If, however the symptoms continue past the one week mark the NHS then encourages Mothers to raise this at their midwife/ health visitor check up’s.
Pre & Post Natal Depression
Prenatal Depression is developed before the birth and is prevalent in around 10-15% women according to The Black Dog Institute. With symptoms similar to those present in Postnatal Depression it is important that women raise their concerns with their health visitor, midwife or GP. Postnatal Depression is developed after the birth, with symptoms typically appearing during the first 6 months post birth. Often, the symptoms of depression and quite often misdiagnosed as the ‘Baby Blue’ and so it is important to differentiate between the two. Postnatal Depression is prevalent in 1 in 10 new months with symptoms often exasperated by exhaustion and sleep deprivation.
Common symptoms include:
- Feeling irritable and angry
- Crying or often being on the verge of crying
- Feeling unable to cope
- Having negative thoughts about yourself, such as “I am a bad mother”
- Worrying unnecessarily about things that wouldn’t normally bother you
- Excessive worry about your baby’s health
- Being afraid of being left alone with your baby
- Loss of interest in your baby
- Sleeping problems
- Feeling exhausted and lethargic
- Gaining or losing large amounts of weight
- Trouble concentrating and feeling distracted
Perinatal Mental Health is by no means a sign of someone being a bad mother and many health visitors are trained to look out for signs & symptoms as a result of the high prevalence rates. Mild to moderate depression is often treated with talking therapies such as CBT and often involves the whole family in order to create a strong support network for the mother. More severe forms of depression may be treated with further talking therapies and medication.
To find a local support group in your area please click here or alternatively for more information with regards to treatment options please click here;
For further information with regards to Perinatal Mental Health please click here;
Alternatively you may wish to access the internal and external support pages;