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How to seek help as a new mum

Why should I seek help?

Mood disorders (such as perinatal anxiety and depression) are common during pregnancy and in the first year after birth; and the good news is they are also very treatable.  So don’t suffer in silence.  The earlier you seek help, the faster you will get help and be on the road to recovery! There is absolutely no shame in seeking professional help when you need it, it is really important that you look after yourself so you can care for you baby or bump.

Who should I seek help from?

There are a range of different health care professionals who you can talk to about how you are feeling.  Your first port of call should probably be your GP, midwife or health visitor… at the very least, they will eb able to point you in the right direction.

There are also a number of trained therapists and counsellors available through the NHS, who provide a wide range of different therapies.  In some cases, you might be able to contact them directly (https://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Psychological-therapies-(IAPT)/LocationSearch/10008)

There are also a number of charitys and helplines that might be able to offer you help and support. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/

What should I say?

Some people find it difficult to know how to talk about their feelings with a healthcare professional; and you may not know what to say to them.

Here are some things to consider:

Write down what you want to say in advance, and take your notes in with you. Include an honest description of:

  • How you feel, and any thoughts or physical symptoms you have been having.
  • The outcome that you want from your appointment (e.g. access to therapy).

Print out any information you’ve found that helpful, or that relates to your feelings and symptoms.

What is the treatment for perinatal anxiety?

On this website we offer some practical skills to help you cope with the stresses and anxieties that often come with parenthood.  However, you may find you need more that this to help you feel better.

There are a number of different treatment options that have been shown to be effective in the perinatal period, including:

  • Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (either in groups, or one-on-one with a therapist) and mindfulness.
  • Self-help resources, such as computerised CBT programmes, or evidence-based self-help books to help you learn to manage your anxiety.
  • Medication can be helpful to help manage anxiety (such as anti-anxiety medication, or anti-depressants), and some can be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.  Your doctor will be able to advise you of the suitability of medication in the perinatal period.

Your midwife or GP can talk you through which treatments are likely to be most suited to your particular symptoms, and will discuss the pros and cons of the different options with you, so you can make an informed choice.

Look after yourself and seek help, if you need it.