Perinatal Mental Health (PNMH) refers to mental wellbeing during the perinatal period, which includes; pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period up until your baby reaches one year of age. It is a very important aspect of your care and wellbeing.
At your initial booking appointment with your midwife she will ask you about your medical history including past and current mental health issues. You will be asked about your emotional wellbeing at each antenatal and postnatal contact. It is really important that you share any relevant mental health history with your community midwife at the earliest opportunity. Anybody can be affected by a mental health disorder during pregnancy and following childbirth; whether you have suffered in the past or not. Pregnancy is an emotionally and physically changing time and having a baby comes with new challenges and demands.
Within Maternity we have a Consultant Obstetrician who specialises in Perinatal Mental Health and we also have a Perinatal Mental Health Specialist Midwife. These professionals have a close network of support available to you if required, consisting of the Perinatal Mental Health Team, Psychiatrist, Health Visitors and a counselling service.
The most common mental health problems in pregnancy and after the birth of a baby are depression and anxiety. During pregnancy depression can affect approximately 12% of women and anxiety can affect around 13% of women. This figure increases to around 15 to 20% of women affected by depression and anxiety during the first year following childbirth.