home page.jpg

Perinatal Mental Health

•Perinatal mental health (PMH) concerns affect both men's and women's emotional and psychological wellbeing from conception into parenthood.

• PMH covers all mental health problems associated with pregnancy, birth and beyond. These include pre and postnatal depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) postpartum psychosis and birth trauma.

•1 in 4 women are affected by PMH figures for men are even less available but estimated at 5-10% of men.

Causes of PMH

•The causes of postpartum psychosis and anyone can suffer it does not mean you are doing something wrong

•There are known risk factors that make you more likely to struggle and health visitors will ask questions early on in pregnancy to try and identify these

•Having a family history of mental health illness, particularly postpartum psychosis

•A traumatic birth or pregnancy

•Developing the same illness after a previous pregnancy

•Already being diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Prenatal Depression

•Prenatal depression occurs during pregnancy. Everyone’s experience of prenatal depression (also known as antenatal depression) is different.


What are the symptoms?

•Feeling low


•Not enjoying life or pregnancy

•Loss of self-confidence

•Avoiding socialising 

•Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)


hormone imbalances during pregnancy  for many women include nausea that can last all day and sometimes for the full nine months.

•Previous miscarriage or stillbirth
If you’ve suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth previously, it’s understandable that any further pregnancies might cause you to feel anxious and scared. A new pregnancy can also stir emotions of loss and grief because of what you went through before. If you’re in this situation, you can talk to your midwife or GP, who may recommend counselling.

Postnatal depression

•Postnatal depression (PND) is a common problem that occurs after pregnancy and affects more than 1 in 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect dads and partners. PND can present itself in different ways, and many parents don’t realise they have the condition because it can develop gradually over time.

What are the symptoms?

•Low mood and persistent sadness

•Lack of energy 

•Difficulty bonding with baby 

•Overeating and under eating for comfort

•Frightening and intrusive thoughts 

•Lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world

•Trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day 

•Withdrawing from contact with other people

•Lack of concentration and difficulty making decisions

Perinatal Anxiety

•Perinatal anxiety can happen any time during pregnancy, through birth and after, and it’s common to experience it alongside depression.

•Someone suffering from prenatal (antenatal) or postnatal anxiety may feel tense, nervous and unable to relax. They may also avoid certain situations, experience panic attacks and suffer from the obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

What are the symptoms of perinatal anxiety?


•Feeling tense and nervous

•Difficulty concentrating

•Feeling irritable

•Excessive worrying

•Avoidance of certain situations or places

•Difficulty falling or staying asleep

•Panic attacks – shortness of breath, feeling light-headed or dizzy, pounding or racing heartbeat, sweating or hot flushes, shaking, tingling, churning stomach, feeling faint

•Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which includes repetitive behaviours and unpleasant thoughts

•Nausea (feeling sick)

Birth Trauma

Birth trauma might be due to one single event, or a mixture of experiences in pregnancy, during birth or after birth. It can be experienced after a physically or mentally exhausting irth, and can also be associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What are the symptoms?

•Flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive memories, which make you feel distressed and panicky

•Avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma. This can mean refusing to walk past the hospital where you gave birth, or avoiding meeting other women with new babies

•Feeling hyper-vigilant. You’re constantly alert, irritable and jumpy, and worry that something terrible is going to happen to your baby

•Feeling low and unhappy. You may feel guilty and blame yourself for your traumatic birth, and you may have difficulty remembering parts of the birth