Explains postnatal depression and other perinatal mental health problems, including possible causes, treatments and support options. Also has information for friends and family, including support and advice for partners.
Doctors can only formally diagnose you with a perinatal mental health problem if you are pregnant or have given birth to a child in the past year.
But if your partner is pregnant or recently gave birth, you may also experience mental health problems during this time. For example, some studies show that partners can experience depression or anxiety around the time of their child's birth.
If you think you're experiencing a mental health problem, there is help and support available.
This page covers:
"Overall it was a horrific time in our lives, for a total of around 18 months from falling pregnant to coming out the other side, which really put a massive strain on our relationship. Looking back, I'm not sure how we managed to get through it all."
There are many reasons that you might experience mental health problems while your partner is pregnant or after they give birth.
But these problems are more likely if you:
You might also be coping with:
Your partner may also experience mental health problems during their pregnancy or after giving birth. This can make it even harder for you to cope with the normal struggles of becoming a parent.
Everybody reacts to becoming a parent in different ways. But there are some common signs that you may be experiencing a mental health problem. These include:
If you think you're experiencing mental health problems, it is possible to manage these feelings with the right support.
There are a few different ways that you can get support for your mental health:
You can speak to your doctor any time you experience mental health problems. This includes during the time that your partner is pregnant or after your child is born.
Your doctor can refer you to local support services or talking therapies. They can also prescribe you medication for your mental health.
There are several organisations who specialise in helping and supporting partners during this time:
See our useful contacts page for other organisations who may be able to help.
There are a few different ways that you can look after your own mental health if you are feel like you are struggling. See our page on ways to look after your mental health when becoming a parent for ideas that may help.
We also have pages about different types of mental health problem that you may experience. These pages include specific self-care tips and treatment and support options.
This information was published in April 2020. We will revise it in 2023.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.