At the Women’s Wellness Centre, we recognise that it’s equally as important to have excellent care for your mental health as it is for your physical health during pregnancy and after birth. As many as 1 in 5 women have mental health problems during this time. Whether or not you have needed mental health care before, it is vitality important to make sure that you have the right care to prevent and treat mental health problems.
Women experience many different emotions during pregnancy and after birth. It is common to be excited and happy, but women often feel anxious and overwhelmed.Even when your pregnancy is planned and wanted, being pregnant and having a baby can bring unexpected emotional distress for many different reasons.
Just like at other times, women can have many different types of mental illness in pregnancy and the postnatal period. You may have had previous mental health problemsor you could have symptoms of mental illness for the first time. Even if you’re well, you may be worried about the risk of becoming unwell in pregnancy or after birth. Some women are at particularly high risk. You may need help to you make decisions about using medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding. You could be concerned about how difficulties in previous relationships or traumatic events you have experienced may impact on your relationship with your baby. Whatever the case, with specialist advice and care you can make a plan to ensure you stay as well as possible and that you and your family know how to access help and support should you need it.The earlier you seek help the more time you have to make important decisions about your care and treatment.
Our Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist, Dr Lucinda Green, is a highly respected expert who provides evidence-based, compassionate, individualised care.She offers assessment and care for women with a range of mental health problems before, during and after birth. These include:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Bipolar Affective Disorder
Other psychotic illness
Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder
Mental health problems associated with pregnancy related complications
Other pregnancy-related emotional distress
Your comprehensive assessment will include a discussion about: your previous mental health problems and treatments; current or previous stressful events and other relevant factors which have contributed to the development of your mental illness; and other issues which may impact on parenting. Clarifying your diagnosis and helping you gain a better understanding of why you may have developed these difficulties helps to inform decisions about your care and treatment. It also ensures you have individualised information and advice about:
How pregnancy can affect your mental health
Any risk you may have of developing mental health problems in pregnancy or after birth and how to prevent these
The risks and benefits of taking medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding to help you decide whether to make any changes to your treatment before trying to conceive
The help and support you and your family might need during pregnancy and in the first few months after birth
Care and treatment to make sure that you are as well as possible
Websites and resources that you, your partner and family may find helpful for further information and support
If you are seen for an assessment during pregnancy our Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist will develop a written plan with you for your care during pregnancy, birth, and for the postnatal period. You can decide together whatinformation it would be helpful to share with your obstetrician, midwife and health visitor so they can best support you during this time.
The first appointment is for assessment, advice and care planning. You can opt just for this, or you can have ongoing care throughout pregnancy and until your baby is one year old. The frequency of appointments is completely flexible, depending on what you need.