The Child and Family Practice has a number of specialists who work with women, their partners and families when they are planning a pregnancy, pregnant, postnatal and in the early years of family life (the perinatal period).
Having a baby is one of the biggest life changes. It is common for women and partners to experience a wide range of emotions when trying to conceive, during pregnancy and after birth. You may feel happy and excited, but not everyone does. It’s normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed at times. As many as 1 in 5 women have mental health problems during pregnancy and in the first year after birth. This can include many different types of mental illness, just like at other times. You may have an existing mental illness, or you may become unwell for the first time. Some mental health problems are linked to an increased risk of postnatal mental illness. Having a baby can also be a stressful time for relationships for a range of reasons. Partners’ mental health can also be affected,
Pregnancy and having a baby can be challenging for many reasons including:
• Infertility and fertility treatment
• Miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a baby
• Previous traumatic birth experiences
• Pregnancy complications
• Being told your unborn baby has a serious abnormality
• Worry about how pregnancy and having a baby will affect your mental health if you have a current or previous mental illness
• Concern about whether or not you can continue medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding
• Negative experiences from your childhood can resurface
• Worry about bonding with your baby
• Premature birth and/or having a baby in a neonatal intensive care unit
• Difficulties in your relationship with your partner including separation
• Difficulties in your relationship with your partner and/or baby following conception with donor egg or sperm
• Concern about the impact of your pregnancy or new baby on older siblings
The earlier you seek help for any difficulties the more time you have to make important decisions about the care, support and treatment you need and to ensure this starts as soon as possible. This will give you the best chance of being well and enjoying family life.
At the Child and Family Practice we can help with:
• Planning a pregnancy – advice about your care and treatment, including medication and talking therapies, to ensure you are as well as possible whilst trying to conceive, during pregnancy and after birth.
• Assessment and treatment for women with pre-existing mental health problems. This can include depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and many other illnesses. Even if you are currently well it is important to have advice about your risk of becoming unwell and a plan for your care during pregnancy and after birth so that you can reduce this risk.
• Assessment and treatment for new mental health problems whilst trying to conceive, during pregnancy and after birth.
• Advice about the risks and benefits of taking psychiatric medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding to help you decide what is best for you and your baby. Don’t stop your medication without discussing this with your doctor.
• Psychological therapies for women, couples and families whilst trying to conceive, during pregnancy and after birth
• Specialist interventions if you are worried about you or your partner’s bonding and relationship with your baby.
• Consultations and interventions if you are concerned about persistent crying, sleeping or eating difficulties or about your baby’s development in general.
• Support for parents in developing their relationship with a baby adopted in this country or from abroad
We can work with your midwife, health visitor, obstetrician and other professionals to ensure everyone is supporting you and your family together.
At The Child and Family Practice our specialists can help with both physical and mental health needs, education and family problems, mediation and medicolegal reports. We aim to offer sensitive individually tailored confidential highly professional services and, where necessary, integrated care across a range of professions and specialities.
Perinatal (Adult) Psychiatrist
Specialist in the care and treatment of women with mental health problems before, during and after pregnancy
Consultant Child and Family Psychiatrist
Consultant Child Psychiatrist and accredited VIG practitioner, with a special interest in supporting parents in the perinatal period and the early years of parenting
Useful links to further information and support
Tommys – www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/mental-health-during-and-after-pregnancy
Royal College of Psychiatrists – www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/treatments-and-wellbeing/mental-health-in-pregnancy
Birth Trauma Association – www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk
Association for Postnatal Illness – https://apni.org/
Maternal OCD – https://maternalocd.org/
Action on Postpartum Psychosis – www.app-network.org/
Miscarriage Association – www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/
Fertility Network UK – https://fertilitynetworkuk.org/
SANDS – https://www.sands.org.uk/