Your feelings matter
Around 1 in 4 mums and 1 in 10 men are affected by mental health problems during pregnancy and the two years after birth.
In the first few weeks after the birth of a baby, feelings related to postnatal depression, can often be mistaken for the ‘baby blues’, which is a short period of feeling low, anxious and irritable and affects 80% of new mums. PND is when these feelings last for much longer, can vary from mild to severe and it can affect women in different ways.
Low mood, sadness
Feelings of worthlessness
Self-blame or guilt
Irritability or emotional highs and lows
Lack of energy
Lack of interest in activities
Increased or decreased appetite
Reduced concentration and decision making ability
Slowed or fast speech
Feeling of hopelessness
Obsessional or intrusive thoughts
Thoughts about death and suicide
You are not alone, help and support is available
If you feel you may be experiencing some of these symptoms it is important to try and talk to someone. By talking to a family member or friend, GP, Health visitor or midwife, you are taking the first step and they will be able to offer support to you.
How to get help
If you or your family think you might be suffering from antenatal or postnatal depression or anxiety, it’s important to get help as soon as possible.
A doctor, midwife or health visitor will usually check for depression in all women who have recently given birth but sometimes fear of asking for help can be part of the problem, and you may need encouragement and support in getting it.
You can talk to your midwife or health visitor and explain how you’re feeling. They will be able to assess and advise you. If you can’t contact your midwife or health visitor, talk to your GP.
What can they do?
They may ask the following two questions when they see you (this may be during one of your antenatal or postnatal checks or visits):
- During the past month, have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
- During the past month, have you often been bothered by having little interest or pleasure in doing things?
Your health visitor will reassure you and may be able to make extra visits, so that you can talk.
You can also see your GP and together you can decide on the right treatment for you. The type of treatment that is best for you can depend on various things including:
- how severe your depression/anxiety is and what symptoms you have
- the impact of your symptoms on your ability to function (to look after yourself and your baby)
- whether you have had depression or other mental health problems in the past. What has worked best for you before if this is the case
- the likely waiting time for any of the treatments available should your GP need to refer you
- your current situation
- your own preferences once the options and their pros and cons have been explained fully to you.
Beyond Blue can help!
Supporting the emotional wellbeing of Mums who may be experiencing anxiety or low mood through pregnancy up to 2 years post birth.
Our support group “Blossoming Through” is a safe space where you can meet other Mums and receive non-judgemental support.
Beyond Blue Buddies offers 1-1 support in the community or at Bright Beginnings Children’s Centre.
If you feel you would prefer to speak to someone else outside of the health care services about how you are feeling, please contact us at Beyond Blue:
Tel: 01481 249919
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org