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Explains postnatal depression and other perinatal mental health issues, including possible causes, sources of treatment and support, and advice for friends and family.
Having a baby is a big life event, and it's natural to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after your pregnancy. But if they start to have a big impact on how you live your life, you might be experiencing a mental health problem.
Around one in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. This might be a new mental health problem or another episode of a mental health problem you've experienced before. These are known as perinatal mental health problems.
"It took a lot of courage to tell my midwife that I was experiencing suicidal thoughts and had sought help from my GP."
It can be really difficult to feel able to talk openly about how you're feeling when you become a new parent. You might feel:
But it's important to ask for help or support if you need it. You're likely to find that many new mothers are feeling the same way.
Watch Sara, Holly and Kate talk about their experience of mental health problems after pregnancy.
You can experience any kind of mental health problems during and after pregnancy, but there are some that are particularly common or are specifically linked to pregnancy and childbirth. These pages cover:
If you become pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, it's important to think about how you can manage your mental health during this time. Whatever your feelings are about being pregnant or becoming a parent, this can be a stressful time for everyone.
Talk to your doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to help you make plans to manage your mental health during pregnancy. See our page on support and services for more information, and our pages on different mental health problems for more information on treatment and support.
"I had been diagnosed with PTSD prior to my pregnancy. When I became pregnant with my daughter I had ‘crisis’ episodes and was referred to a consultant who helped me to identify my triggers."
If you've previously experienced a mental health problem during or directly after pregnancy, then you are at an increased risk of becoming unwell again – but this doesn't mean you definitely will. You might:
If you do become pregnant again, it's important to talk to your doctor about how you can look after your mental health, and find out about what support you can get. See our pages on support and services and self-care for more information.
This information was published in July 2016. We will revise it in 2019.
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