The costs of perinatal mental health problems

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On Tuesday 13th of January PiP UK organized a lecture sponsored by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) hosted by Andrea Leadsom MP, Frank Field MP and Tim Loughton MP, opened by Dr Liz MacDonald (RCPsych) .

The lecture was called Perinatal mental health: a paradigm shift

Despite it being difficult to talk about, We have all heard about the incidence of postnatal depression. The sad stories of mothers not coping with their newborns and finding life with a baby not what they thought it would be. What we are much less aware of and as many professionals on the front line, are less adept at handling is recognizing depression during pregnancy or “Antenataly”

The presentation was stressing how important it is to recognize mothers wellbeing not just postnatally but during pregnancy. Up to 20% of women develop a mental health problem during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth. A mothers own childhood has a profound effect on whether she develops depression during or post pregnancy. A very worrying fact is that had mother been poorly treated during her own childhood (neglected childhood, alcoholism, trauma, death of a parent/sibling) and then was depressed during pregnancy, this has a strong impact on how she bonds with her baby and how baby will develop throughout childhood and adolescence.

I walked away from the House of Commons determined to help disseminate this message and help Train those already working with pregnant women and new mothers. I am currently working on developing a training program for health visitors and midwives based on a paper I co authored with Susie Orbach called “Two for the price of one”: the impact of body image during pregnancy” https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/two-for-the-price-of-one

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