Perinatal Mental Health
Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) problems occur during pregnancy and up to the first year following birth. Perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of expectant mums and covers a wide range of illnesses.
Pregnancy in itself is a huge life change and it's normal for emotions and hormones to go up and down, and to have difficultly eating and sleeping at different stages of pregnancy. However, it's important to be aware of how you are feeling as pregnancy progresses and in the first few days and weeks after birth, and up to the first year.
Start of pregnancy
One year after birth
"At least one in every five women experience anxiety, depression or both during pregnancy and/or following birth."
Perinatal mental illness doesn't discriminate and can affect anyone, from any walk of life. You do not need to have a history of mental illness to be affected by one during the perinatal period, although the risk is higher if you have previously experienced a mental illness or have other underlying risk factors such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
Symptoms to look out for;
- Persistent low mood
- Loss of interest and enjoyment
- Disturbed sleep (taking a long time to fall asleep, interrupted sleep, waking early)
- Anxiety symptoms
- Social withdrawal
- Hopelessness and pessimistic or intrusive thoughts
- Reduced self-esteem and self-confidence
A perinatal mental illness not only affects the mother, but can affect their partner, the infant and other family members. It is important to get help and talk to someone as soon as possible to reduce this impact.
"One in ten fathers experience depression and/or anxiety. Having a partner with a mental illness is an important risk factor for paternal perinatal mental illness."
Most common perinatal mental illnesses;
- Perinatal Depression
- Perinatal Anxiety
- Perinatal OCD
- Postpartum Psychosis
- Postpartum PTSD
"Postnatal Psychosis affects one to two new mothers in every 1,000"
Perinatal Psychosis is very rare, but it is a psychiatric emergency and needs to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. The highest risk period is the first four weeks after birth, with women reporting the symptoms started within three days of their baby being born. The risk remains high for the first three months and some episodes can start later than this.
If you have or feel like your partner or family member have any of the symptoms mentioned above then it may be worth booking a free initial consultation to have a chat. If you have any specific queries about perinatal mental health please get in contact using the button below.