Supporting maternal mental health

In the UK, up to 1 in 5 mums and 1 in 10 dads experience mental health issues during pregnancy and the first year after birth. This time period is known as the perinatal period.

During the perinatal period, from pregnancy up to a year after birth, women can be affected by a number of mental health problems. These include: depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders and postpartum psychosis.

In 2020 the Maternal Mental Health Alliance wrote that 7 out of 10 women who are struggling will hide or downplay the severity of the struggles they are experiencing .

Having a baby is a major life event that is a difficult and stressful time for many people. The pandemic may have made things more difficult if you are pregnant or have recently had a baby. It’s natural to experience a range of emotions during pregnancy and after giving birth; as pregnancy progresses and afterwards there are major hormonal and lifestyle shifts which bring heightened emotions with them. But if any difficult feelings start to have a large effect on your day-to-day life, you might be experiencing a perinatal mental health problem.

The personal experience of these conditions will vary from mother to mother, and the levels of support the mother has make a big impact on how well they manage their symptoms. Broken sleep leading to crippling tiredness, hormonal changes, and trying to adapt to a completely different routine can lead to struggle. Especially if new parents have lost their support networks due to Covid or lockdown restrictions. In many countries the way maternal health is managed has changed radically over the last year, with pregnant woman no longer receiving in person or face to face care, leading to women feeling more isolated and less supported than usual.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) supports parents who are experiencing issues with their mental health.  Every year the evidence mounts that hypnotherapy helps mothers feel in control to give birth calmly, and more midwives in the UK are training as hypnotherapists. There’s also increasing evidence that hypnobirthing and teaching expectant mothers self-hypnosis techniques can improve antenatal mental health outcomes for both parents and the child.

Partners who are involved with the hypnobirthing training also report feeling significantly more relaxed and confident about becoming a parent and the NCH provides research that babies born to mums who have practiced hypnosis and deep relaxation techniques during labour may also be calmer, sleep better and feed better.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy has more than 1,800 clinical hypnotherapists across the UK who can teach these skills along with hypnobirthing in a confidential, encouraging and non-judgemental way.

To find a suitable NCH therapist near you, simply click here.

Photo by Isaac Taylor from Pexels