By Jane Brewin
A new report from MBRRACE-UK, out this week, has highlighted some shocking truths about the failure of mental health provision for pregnant women and new mums. Almost a quarter of women who died between six weeks and one year after pregnancy died from mental-health related causes. 1 in 7 died from suicide. Often these problems begin in pregnancy.
Last year Tommy's ran a #talktosomeone campaign around mental health during pregnancy (antenatal mental health), urging women to talk to someone if they felt low during pregnancy. The terrible fact is that even though women are more likely to be affected by mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, during pregnancy than any other time, they are less likely to be diagnosed.
And if they are diagnosed, the picture of the treatment they may receive is far from perfect. MBBRACE-UK states that if the women who died by suicide became ill today:
- 40% would not be able to get any specialist perinatal mental health care
- Only 25% would get the highest standards of care.
At Tommy's, we want to see mental health givin the same consideration as physical health during pregnancy. And we urge organisations working with women to tell them to look for help if they feel upset more than they feel happy during pregnancy.
Up to 20% of all pregnant women will suffer with mental health problems during pregnancy.
We have made sure that mental health is given equal prominence to physical health in the comprehensive pregnancy information on our website. We want to reach as many women as possible with our information to make sure they are supported with information and empowered to look for help when it's needed.
Our information about mental health during pregnancy can be accessed here:
“Adjusting to life with a new baby can be difficult and overwhelming. We may set ourselves unachievable goals as a result of the unrealistic way society represents motherhood. This can leave us finding it hard to cope and feeling like we’ve failed.”
Catherine shares her experience of postpartum depression and being part of the BBC documentary ‘Mothers on the Edge’.
I had postnatal depression after my first baby was born, but I chose to deal with it myself and didn’t ask for help. I was stubborn and assumed I’d be OK.
I have always been a worrier. But after I had a miscarriage and my Dad, Nan and Grandad passed away, I started having panic attacks and was diagnosed with anxiety.