Last updated March 2012. Planned review date: March 2014
Am I at risk of developing mental health problems in pregnancy?
If you have had a mental health problem before, you are at increased risk of these developing into more serious problems during and after your pregnancy.
Women who are more likely than others to develop mental health problems during pregnancy, include:
- those who already have (or have had) a mental health problem, such as depression
- those who have a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia
- those who have a mental health problem and stop taking their medication when they find out they are pregnant. If you’re taking medication for a mental health problem, don’t stop without medical advice as this can make your illness return or become worse.
If any of these situations applies to you, talk to your midwife or doctor so they can offer the best possible support and treatment for you and your baby.
Women who have a mental health problem or psychotic illness are more likely to become ill again during pregnancy or in the first year after their baby is born than at other times in their life. Severe mental illnesses may also develop much more quickly and be more serious after giving birth than at other times. Therefore, it’s essential to seek help if you’re worried about how you are feeling.
Click here to find out more about where to go for help.
NICE (2007) CG45 Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health, London, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
NICE (2007) Understanding NICE guidance: information for people who use NHS services. Mental health problems during pregnancy and after giving birth, Information about NICE clinical guideline 45, London, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), 2007.
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