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Council Services:

Maternal mental health

Antenatal depression and anxiety

Antenatal depression is a form of depression that can affect one in eight women during pregnancy and can continue after the birth.

It can often be triggered by many factors including, hormonal and physical changes, fear and stress of the pregnancy, family, financial, or relationship issues.

If you have a family history of mental health problems or have previously had depression, this can increase your risk of developing depression during your pregnancy.


  • Talking to your midwife, health visitor or GP about how you are feeling
  • Talking through the issues with your partner, friends or family will give you more emotional support
  • Relaxation and practice positive thinking
  • Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise
  • Counselling/talking therapies
  • Medication i.e antidepressants
  • Self-help - you can look on the internet and read books on the subject

Postnatal depression

Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby. It’s a common problem, affecting more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners, although this is less common.You can find more detailed information on the NHS website.

Signs and symptoms

  • Continued feelings of low mood and sadness
  • A lack of interest in general and a lack of enjoyment in the activities which were previously pleasurable
  • A constant feeling of tiredness with no energy
  • Disturbed sleep patterns at night which has no obvious cause
  • Low levels of self-confidence
  • Feelings of agitation or “can’t be bothered”
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Blaming oneself unnecessarily when things go wrong
  • Having no appetite or eating excessively for comfort
  • Self-neglect, not washing or changing clothes
  • Crying often for no apparent reason
  • Considering self-harming and suicide
  • Low sex drive

Feelings of anxiety may prevent women leaving the house, feeling unable to care for their baby or have thoughts about harming their baby. These thoughts, although distressing are very rarely acted upon.

Although harmful thoughts are thought to be very common, it is best to discuss these with you GP, health visitor or other health professional. This will ensure you receive the support needed for yourself, your baby and your family.

Listen to Emma’s experience of signs and symptoms


  • Talk to your partner, family and freinds, they can offer support and understanding, knowing that they are not being excluded
  • Your health visitor can offer extra listening visits to help you understand and cope with your symptoms
  • Exercise can positively enhance mood as can a healthy diet
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy can help to stop negative and unhelpful thinking
  • Antidepressants may be prescribed
  • Specialist referral may be needed if symptoms that have not responded to treatment

The future

Please tell your health visitor/midwife if you have suffered with postnatal depression with a previous pregnancy. You will not necessarily have postnatal depression again, but you are more at risk.You may have had previous pregnancies with no signs or symptoms of postnatal depression, however any pregnancy can result in postnatal depression.

For more information please call 01522 843000 or email

Visit the One You website

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Last updated: 19 February 2018

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