How do women feel about mental health discussions with midwives?

Ms Emma Yapp, Prof Louise Howard, Ms Kylee Trevillion, Dr Meeriam Kadicheeni, Dr Laurence Telesia, Dr Jeanette Milgrom

Our researchers looked at what women think about how mental health and wellbeing is dealt with during antenatal appointments.

This project is now complete.

Why do we need this research?

As many as one in four women will experience mental health problems during pregnancy. It’s important that mental health issues are picked up early, so that mothers can receive the support they need. Midwives ask women questions about their mental health during antenatal appointments. However, we don’t know enough about how women feel about being asked questions about their mental health.

What’s happening in this project?

Our researchers conducted interviews with an ethnically diverse group of 52 women about their experience of discussing mental health with their midwives. The results of their study showed that most women were comfortable with being asked about their mental health. A small number of women, who had previous experience of mental illness or abuse, found it difficult to discuss their mental health with their midwife.

The researchers found that women wanted enough time in appointments to discuss mental health issues. They also wanted midwives to be well-informed and respond appropriately to disclosures about mental health problems.

What difference will this project make?

The findings of this research demonstrate the need for more training for midwives on how to handle conversations about mental health, and dealing with any distress that women might feel. This work could lead to better support for women experiencing mental health issues during pregnancy.

Thanks for your interest in our research

Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. We can keep you updated on ways you can support our work. If you would like to join our fight against baby loss and premature birth, click here.

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