Pre-existing mental illness and pregnancy can be a challenging combination to experience. At your booking appointment your community midwife will ask you about your current mental health and any previous history of mental health conditions.  This will include any medication and treatment you are prescribed currently or have had in the past.  You will be asked this because there are some mental health conditions that can have an increased chance of recurring after having a baby.  This information will be used to make sure you are supported to access any support you may need.

It is normal to have changes in your mood during pregnancy and following the birth. Many parents are worried about talking about their mental health, please don’t be. Talk to your midwife if you are worried or notice any changes.

During Your Appointments With the Midwife

During your appointments you will be asked specific questions about how you are feeling. These will include the following:  

Over the last month how often have you been bothered by:

  • feeling down depressed or hopeless
  • little interest or pleasure in doing things

Over the last 2 weeks how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems:

  • feeling nervous, anxious or on edge
  • not being able to stop or control worrying 

You will also be asked about any family history of mental health conditions and your partners mental health history if applicable.

Midwives will ask how you how you are feeling about your pregnancy, bonding with your baby or any concerns you may have and if there anything in your life past or present that might make pregnancy or childbirth difficult for you.

Midwives will ask about your emotional wellbeing and mental health all the way through pregnancy and after having your baby.  It is important you are open and honest so that we can offer you the support you need.  Your emotional wellbeing and mental health is as important as your physical health and if someone asks how you are feeling please remember they are asking about both elements.

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Medication Advice

Many women may already be taking medication for their mental health when they become pregnant. When it comes to the safest antidepressant in pregnancy NHS, there are many options that are considered safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is important to continue your medication until you have spoken to your midwife or GP.  Please do not automatically stop taking it.  There are specialists who can provide more detailed information if you need this.

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Emotional Changes in Pregnancy Leaflet

You will be given a booklet at your booking appointment which talks about emotional changes during pregnancy.  This gives a wealth of valuable information.

Emotional Changes Booklet (English)

Emotional Changes Booklet (Polish)

Emotional Changes Booklet (Romanian)

Emotional Changes Booklet (Bengali)

Emotional Changes Booklet (Lithuanian)

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Talking Therapies

If you are feeling low in mood, stressed or anxious during pregnancy or after having a baby, NHS Northamptonshire Talking Therapies, or psychological therapies, are effective and confidential treatments delivered by fully trained NHS staff. You can register for the service by calling 0300 999 1616 (9 to 5 weekdays) or completing the online registration forms available at Northamptonshire NHS Talking Therapies | NHFT  

NHS Northamptonshire Talking Therapies provide an initial assessment by telephone and can offer a range of evidence-based talking therapies by phone, through video link, or face to face. This could be on a one-to-one basis or as part of a group. You can also sign up for an online programme and webinars, working at your own pace, in your own home.  Please mention that if you are currently pregnant or have a child under 2 years old.

NHS Northamptonshire Talking Therapies support options include online tools, which you can use whenever and wherever works best for you.  They can help with common mental health problems including; stress, anxiety, depression, health anxiety, social anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and trauma (including birth trauma). Talking therapies can help you to understand your problems and find ways to manage them. Therapists can guide you through this process. NHS Northamptonshire Talking Therapies also have Peer Supporters who can work alongside our therapists to offer you additional support.

Please note: Northamptonshire NHS Talking Therapies is not an emergency service. If you require urgent or out of hours mental health support please call The Mental Health Number (integrated mental health response hub) on 0800 448 0828 (lines available 24 hours a day, seven days a week).

Sometimes women will require additional support above and beyond services such as NHS Northamptonshire Talking Therapies and the support from Midwifery and their GP.  For women who have a history of, currently experiencing or at an increased chance of experiencing moderate to severe mental health conditions, a referral to the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service May be required

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