Looking after your partner’s mental health after they give birth

The first few weeks and months after giving birth can be very emotional. Here’s how you can support your partner and help them stay mentally well.

Your partner’s mental health

It’s natural for your partner to feel tearful or anxious for the first week after the birth. If these feelings start later or don’t get better after 2 weeks, encourage them to tell their GP or health visitor. 

Some women and birthing people need support or treatment for mental health problems such as anxiety, depression or psychosis. Some get post-traumatic stress (PTSD), for example after a traumatic birthing experience.

If your partner needs support with their mental health, you can help them by:     

  • asking them what they need at that time
  • reassuring them that they’re a good parent
  • encouraging them to rest
  • agreeing times when visitors can call – visits from friends and family can be tiring 
  • asking friends and family to help – for example, by cooking meals, caring for older children or helping with housework
  • encouraging them to get help – for example, from a health professional or a support group
  • talking about what questions you both want to ask at medical appointments.

Looking after your own mental health

Supporting someone with a mental health problem can be stressful and tiring. It’s important to take care of yourself too. You could try:     

  • resting when you can
  • taking regular exercise
  • eating well
  • talking to family and friends
  • asking your employer for time off
  • seeing your GP if you feel you’re not coping.

You can also ask questions about mental health at your partner’s antenatal and postnatal appointments. Ask how you can help your partner and what support is available for you. 

If you live in England and your partner is getting support for a serious mental illness, you will also be offered a mental health assessment. You will get support when you’re planning a pregnancy, during the pregnancy and for 2 years after the birth.  

If there is anything you would like to talk about, you can talk to a Tommy’s midwife free of charge from 9am–5pm, Monday to Friday on 0800 0147 800 or email them at [email protected] 

Find out more about looking after your mental health after your baby is born.

More support and information

Action on Postpartum Psychosis provides support to women and families affected by postpartum psychosis.

Anxiety UK: run by people with anxiety disorders, Anxiety UK offers information, support and therapies for people experiencing anxiety.

Association for Post-Natal Illness runs a support service for families of women with postnatal depression.

Birth Trauma Association provides information and support to women who have had a traumatic birth.

PANDAS provides support services for families affected by perinatal mental illness.

The Hub of Hope lists local, national, peer, community, charity, private and NHS mental health support and services.

NMIND is a mental health health charity providing information, support, local groups and an online chatroom.o

Panic provides Online and telephone support for people suffering from panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and anxiety disorders.

NHS. Early days. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/labour-and-birth/after-the-birth/early-days/ (Page last reviewed: 8 October 2018. Next review due: 8 October 2021)

Royal College of Psychiatrists (2018) Perinatal OCD - information for carers. https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/perinatal-ocd-for-carers

Royal College of Psychiatrists (2018) Postnatal depression - information for carers. https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/postnatal-depression-information-for-carers 

Royal College of Psychiatrists (2018) Postpartum Psychosis for Carers https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/postpartum-psychosis-in-carers 

Royal College of Psychiatrists (2018) Perinatal OCD - information for carers. https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/perinatal-ocd-for-carers 

Royal College of Psychiatrists (2018) Postnatal depression - information for carers. https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/postnatal-depression-information-for-carers

NICE (2014, updated 2020) Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance: Information for the Public. NICE Clinical guideline 192. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg192/ifp/chapter/questions-to-ask-about-mental-health-problems-in-pregnancy-and-the-year-after-birth#finding-out-whats-wrong-diagnosis   

NHS (2019) NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/publication/nhs-mental-health-implementation-plan-2019-20-2023-24/ 

Review dates
Reviewed: 16 June 2022
Next review: 16 June 2025