How do women feel about mental health discussions with midwives?

Our researchers asked women what they thought about the questions they were asked about their mental health and wellbeing during antenatal appointments.
  • Author's list

    Professor Louise Howard, Dr Emma Yapp

    Start date: 2019
    End date: 2019

  • Research centre

  • Research status

    Completed projects

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 when they are asked these questions.

What happened in this project?

Our researchers conducted interviews with an ethnically diverse group of 52 women about their experiences of discussing mental health with their midwives. The results of the study showed that most women were comfortable to be 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 women included in the study thought that it was important to have enough time in their antenatal 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 midwives to have more training on how to handle conversations about mental health and how to deal with any distress that women might feel. This could help them to provide even better support to women experiencing mental health issues during pregnancy.

Thanks for your interest in our research

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