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Caring for the mental health of new and expectant mothers

4-10 May is Maternal Mental Health Week. The current impact of COVID-19 is undeniable, but support is always available to help with the impact of pregnancy and childbirth on a woman’s mental health. It’s important not to put off seeking help if you need to.

The journey to motherhood can be filled with a mixture of emotions and expectations and will be different from woman to woman. The period between conception and up to one year after birth is called the perinatal period. We know that between 10-20% of women will experience a mental health issue during this time. For some, this may be the very first time in their life that they’ve had difficulties with their mental health.

Due to COVID-19 there are changes to the services being offered to ensure that women are cared for safely and sensitively, but rest assured that you are still able to access the care that you need. Across Berkshire, Health Visitors and Talking Therapies services are continuing to offer support and assessments mostly by telephone or video call. The Berkshire Specialist Perinatal Community Mental Health Service also continues to offer assessment, treatment and signposting for those in need, following professional referral.

If you, or someone you care about, seems to be experiencing mental health difficulties during the perinatal period, it is so important to remember that:

  • you/they are not alone
  • mental health issues are not a reflection on your/their ability as a mother
  • effective support and treatment is still available for you
  • medication is an option if needed 
  • Please do speak to someone as getting support early is really important.

The Government have been investing significant funding into perinatal mental health services since 2016, so that women can have access to the most appropriate level of mental health support and treatment. In Berkshire, we have a variety of services available to support women experiencing mental health issues during pregnancy or after having a baby. Visit our website for a list of available support and care.

Remember, if you are worried that you or someone close to you is experiencing mental health difficulties in the perinatal period, we are here to support you. Visit our perinatal services page and postnatal depression support page for more help.