If you want to get pregnant, you are pregnant or you gave birth in the last year.
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 professionals can tell us about you in a ‘referral letter’. This lets us decide if we are the right service to help you, or whether another service will be better. They can check our referral information for professionals page.
- Your first appointment
We will get in touch with you to arrange a first appointment. Talking to you and asking questions will help us decide how best to help you. Together, we will agree a care plan and decide what is needed to make you feel as well as possible.
- Your path to feeling well
Our team of specialist doctors, psychologists, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, nursery nurses and peer support workers work together to help you feel as well as possible and enjoy your pregnancy and family life. We will also work with other services you already know.
If you have a current or previous moderate or severe mental health problem and you want to get pregnant, we can support you to stay as well as possible by arranging a pre-conception appointment. During this appointment you will:
- find out about how pregnancy may affect your mental health
- get information about medication in pregnancy
- decide whether you want to change your treatment before you try to get pregnant
- consider what support you will need
- make sure you are as well as possible before you get pregnant.
Getting these things right should help you to enjoy your pregnancy as much as possible.
Bring your partner, a family member, or friend to the appointment. It will help them find out how to 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 and pregnancy. This includes:
- Advice about the risk of relapse in pregnancy and 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.
We can arrange joint appointments and discussions 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 the professional team get together and agree a plan for your care with you.
The professionals at the meeting might include your:
- Health visitor
- Psychiatrist or nurse from another mental health team.
You will decide together 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 is a written document that will be shared with you and the professionals involved in your care.
This will include:
- Contact details for all the professionals
- Information about how to access urgent help should you need to
- Information about your mental health diagnosis, relapse signs and treatment.
If your baby is under 18 months, we can offer:
- Advice and information about your mental health 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.