If you want to get pregnant, you are pregnant or you gave birth in the last year. And you’re worried about your mental health and you want help.
You may feel fearful, panicky, unsettled and overwhelmed. Tearful and distressed one minute and then annoyed and distracted the next. Maybe you feel imperfect in a world of seemingly ‘perfect’ mums. That’s all a frightening way to feel.
Our aim is to help you feel better and enjoy your baby.
Steps to help
- Talk about how you are feeling
Tell your GP, midwife, health visitor, or social worker. If you’re getting help from another mental health service, tell them too – that’s important.
Don’t feel guilty about asking for help - there’s no need. You deserve to feel well.
- Ask for a referral
Your GP or other health professional can tell us about you in a ‘referral letter’. This lets us decide if we are the right people to help you, or whether another service will be better. They can check our referral information for professionals page.
- Your first appointment
We get in touch with you and set up a first appointment. Talking to you and asking questions will help us decide how best to help you. Together, we come up with a care plan and decide how we can make you feel as well as possible.
Some women feel uncertain or worried about starting treatment. Remember, our aim is to help you feel well.
- Your path to feeling well
If we are the right service for you, our team of specialist doctors, psychologists, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers and peer support workers work together to help you feel as well as possible and enjoy your pregnancy and family life. We will work with all the health teams you already know, to do with your baby and your mental health.
You have a current or previous moderate or severe mental health problem and you want to get pregnant. You want to stay as well as possible.
We can start with a one off appointment called a pre-conception appointment.
This will help you find out:
- How pregnancy can affect your mental health
- How to prevent relapse.
We can help you make decisions about using medication when you are:
- Trying to get pregnant
We’ll tell you about the care you can get:
- When you are pregnant
- In the postnatal period, that is, the weeks and months after you give birth.
Bring your partner, a family member or friend to the appointment. It will help them find out how to best support you.
If you are currently unwell or you’ve had a moderate to severe mental illness in the past and you are pregnant, you may want help to stay as well as possible during your pregnancy.
We can offer you information about your mental health problems and pregnancy. This includes:
- Advice about the risk of relapse in pregnancy and the time after birth (postnatal) and how to prevent this,
- Advice about the risks and benefits of using psychiatric medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding,
We can also offer:
- Talking therapies
- Support to help your developing relationship with your baby
- Contacts with voluntary sector organisations who could help you and your family,
- Advice and information about mental health problems for partners and other family members
- This will help them understand your difficulties and how best to support you.
There will be joint appointments and discussion with other professionals involved in your care to make sure everyone works together with you and your family
Pre-birth planning meeting
This is where you, your partner or a family member, and all the professional team involved in your care get together and agree a plan for your care.
The professionals there might include your:
- Health visitor
- Psychiatrist or nurse from another mental health team.
You will all decide how you want the team to care for you:
- During the rest of your pregnancy
- When you come into hospital to have your baby
- The first few weeks after birth.
Perinatal mental health care plan
Your care plan will be written up into a perinatal mental health care.
This will include:
- Contact details for all the professionals
- Information about how to access urgent help should you need to.
If your baby is under one year old, we can offer:
- Advice and information about your mental health problem and treatment options
- Advice about the risks and benefits of using psychiatric medication if you are breastfeeding
- Talking therapies
- Specialist support to develop your relationship with your baby
- Joint appointments and discussion with other professionals involved in your care to make sure everyone works together with you and your family
- Voluntary sector organisations you and your family may find helpful
- Advice and information for your partner and other family members so they can understand your difficulties and know how best to support you
When you are discharged from the service, we will recommend what you need next for your mental health care.