Perinatal Mental Health, Let’s Talk!

Perinatal Mental Health, Let’s Talk!

By Dr Nim

Dr Nim is on our team to provide medical related guidance and signpost our members to helpful information.

Hello ladies! I wanted to focus on PERINATAL MENTAL HEALTH!  1 in 5 women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the year after birth. This can include:

Postnatal depression (PND) is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby. Many people are aware of PND, but it’s less commonly known that you can experience depression throughout your pregnancy as well.

PND affects 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners. Many women do not realise they have PND because it can develop gradually.

PND is different to the ‘baby blues’, where women can experience a low mood and feel mildly depressed during the first week after childbirth (a time when they expect they should feel happy after having a baby). ‘Baby blues’ are probably due to the sudden hormonal and chemical changes that take place in your body after childbirth. All these symptoms are normal and usually only last for up to two weeks. If your symptoms last longer or start later, you could have postnatal depression.

Perinatal anxiety is anxiety experienced during pregnancy or in the year after childbirth.

Some women experience a particular anxiety about childbirth. This is called tokophobia. Check out for more information about this

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 
This may occur if you experience a difficult labour with a long and painful delivery or any other traumatic experiences during birth

The impact is often underestimated as people may feel that the baby is adequate compensation for the trauma and that the mother will soon forget!

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 
OCD has two main parts

1. Obsessions – intrusive thoughts, ideas or urges that repeatedly appear in your mind.

2. Compulsions – repetitive activities that you feel you have to do

The aim of a compulsion is to relieve the intense anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts.


Postpartum psychosis (PP) is a serious, but rare, diagnosis occurring in around one in 1,000 births. The patient is likely to experience a mix of depression, mania and psychosis

Symptoms usually start quite suddenly within a few weeks after giving birth

Being pregnant is a big life event and it is natural to feel a lot of different emotions. But if you’re feeling sad and it’s starting to affect your life, there are things you can try that may help.

✅ talk about your feelings to a friend, family member, doctor or midwife
✅ try calming breathing exercises if you feel overwhelmed
✅ do physical activity if you can – it can improve your mood and help you sleep
✅ eat a healthy diet with regular meals
✅ try to attend antenatal classes to meet other pregnant people

❌ do not compare yourself to other pregnant people – everyone experiences pregnancy in different ways
❌ do not be afraid to tell healthcare professionals how you are feeling – they are there to listen and support you
❌ do not use alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to try and feel better – these can make you feel worse and affect your baby’s growth and wellbeing

It can be an overwhelming and frightening experience and it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. With the right support, most women fully recover. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your GP, midwife or health visitor. We would not want you to suffer alone – there is so much help and support available, either through counselling, support groups, medication or referral to the perinatal mental health team, so please contact us.