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Having A Baby

Looking After Your Mental Health

Looking after your own wellbeing is the most important step to feeling well in pregnancy and getting ready for your new arrival. Taking care of yourself is good for you, your partner and the rest of the family. Take some time to check that you are eating well and getting enough rest. Spend time talking to your friends and family and ask them for the support you need.

It can feel like a lot of pressure to get everything ‘right’ during pregnancy and this might feel stressful.

Some people may have suffered with mental health problems before pregnancy. For others mental health needs may start during pregnancy and/or after their baby is born. Services are now much more aware of the importance of caring for people’s physical and emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and beyond. You do not have to cope alone.

You may have a history of mental health issues. Maybe you take medication for your mental health. You may feel worried about how having a baby will affect you.

Talk to your GP or Midwife as soon as possible in your pregnancy. Make an early appointment with your GP or the midwife who can make a plan of support with you.

Dive Deeper

Asking For Help

You may worry that you will be judged, and people will think you are not able to be a good parent because you are finding things hard. There are lots of parents who struggle at times with their mental health and are very good parents.

Health professionals know this and want to support you. Your team will want to do everything they can to help you feel well and be able to enjoy being a parent to your child.

Asking for help is always a positive step. You and your whole family will benefit from getting the right support.

Medication

Do not stop any medication you are taking for your mental health without medical advice. Even if you feel well it can be harmful to stop some medications suddenly.

It may be that the medication you are on is safe in pregnancy. There may be a safe option you can take instead. It is very important you find this out from a health professional.

Mental Health Worries

You may have had mental health problems in the past, a long term mental health condition or this may be the first time you have worried about this.

It is normal to have a range of thoughts and feelings, both positive and negative, when you are getting ready for your baby to arrive.

Talk to Someone

The first step is to talk to someone about your worries and concerns;

  • Talk to family and friends – share how you feel and ask them if they have any worries about you
  • Talk to health professionals.

Be as honest as you can about how you are feeling. That way you can get the right help for you and your baby.

If you are;

  • Having thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Having feelings about ‘not wanting to be here’
  • Having any thoughts and feelings that are worrying you or loved ones
  • Are worried about your partner.

Seek support straight away. Call 111 or your GP for advice. If you feel at risk of harming yourself go to your local A&E department.

Mental Health Support

During pregnancy and the first year of your baby’s birth there are extra mental health services to assess how best to support you. In Norfolk our Perinatal Community Mental Health team are there if you are suffering with a mental health condition that;

  • Makes living your life harder a lot of the time
    or
  • Have suffered with serious mental illness in the past.

The service aims to help you stay well during pregnancy and after the baby arrives. They will also offer advice if you have a history of mental ill health and are planning a pregnancy. You can discuss whether you are eligible for this with your GP and/or your midwife.

You will be assessed to ensure you get the right support, from the right service, at the right time. They will help you make a plan of care that suits your needs and makes sure everyone involved in your care knows how best to help you keep mentally well.

The whole team are there to help you have a good experience during pregnancy, birth and beyond.

Partners can also access the best support for them by seeing their GP and asking for a review of how best to keep mentally well as they become parents. This is important for you all and will help you build and keep healthy relationships with your growing family.

Take Time Out To Relax

The mental wellbeing of parents is important; keeping well will help you feel more able to manage the challenges of a new baby. Being mentally well will allow you to enjoy this special time as a family. It does not have to take long.

Preparing for a baby alongside already busy lives can mean that we do not allow time to relax and think about ourselves and the new member of the family.

    • Try relaxation techniques where you focus on keeping your breathing slow and steady.
    • Have a warm bath and/ or listen to calming music. Picture your baby and the things you are looking forward to doing with them.
    • Get out in nature.
    • Make something – focusing on a craft project can distract you from difficult feelings even if it just lasts a short time.

Feelings You Might Have

It is good to think about how you are feeling over a couple of weeks. It can help to write it down. You will be able to see if your mental health is affecting your day to day life and how you feel about your baby.

Who can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.

Qwell provides free, safe and anonymous mental wellbeing support for adults in Norfolk and Waveney from a professional team of qualified counsellors.

For 11–25 year olds Kooth is a free, confidential and safe way to receive online counselling, advice and emotional well-being support.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 

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