Help and emotional support during pregnancy and the first year after having a baby

Having a baby can be joyful, exciting, and rewarding. However, it is also common for pregnant women and new mothers or fathers to experience anxiety, depression, or emotional distress. As many as one in five women experience emotional difficulties during pregnancy and in the first year after their baby’s birth. This can happen to anyone.

Vita is your IAPT service which offers free, confidential talking therapy for people who have symptoms of anxiety or depression. IAPT stands for ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapy’. They give priority to pregnant women and new parents.

It is common for pregnant women and new parents to experience:

  • Low mood, sadness, and tearfulness
  • Anxiety, worry and tension
  • Irritability and anger
  • Difficult or unexpected feelings towards your pregnancy or baby
  • Poor sleep even when your baby sleeps well
  • Feeling unable to cope or enjoy anything
  • Thoughts that you are not a good enough parent
  • Worrying thoughts about your baby
  • Anxiety about labour or struggling to come to terms with a difficult labour

 

Ask us for help

It can be difficult to talk about how you are feeling and ask for help. Common reasons for this are:

  • You may not know what is wrong
  • You may feel ashamed that you are not enjoying your baby or coping as you believe you should
  • You may worry that your baby will be taken away.

 

Struggling emotionally at this time can happen to anyone. It is not your fault. Asking for help doesn’t mean you can’t cope or are not able to care for your child. It’s the start of getting the right help and support to ensure you can be the parent you want to be. It is very rare for babies to be taken away from parents, so you should not worry about this. How an IAPT service can help you IAPT offers short-term talking therapy to give you space to talk. These may include guided self-help sessions with a therapist, cognitive behaviour therapy, couples therapy and counselling.

 

Ask us for help

Looking after your mental health in the early weeks after a traumatic birth

A traumatic birth can feel like an emotional shock. Birth was not ‘meant’ to be this way so it can feel understandably hard to make sense of what has happened or how you are feeling. This can be doubly difficult when you add in the pressure of trying to get on and care for your new baby, recover physically or navigate other people ’ s opinions and feelings.

All of this takes immense energy and especially so after trauma. You are not alone – at least 25% of women and birthing people report their birth as traumatic, usually because some aspect of their experience left them feeling intensely afraid, helpless or out of control. A proportion of birth partners will also report birth as traumatic. Every person reacts to trauma in their own way and what felt traumatic to one person may not feel that way to another. It is certainly not for other people to judge what was or wasn’t traumatic for you. What matters most is your individual experiences and what they meant to you personally.

Ask us for help

How can I get help?

You can refer yourself to IAPT by clicking the button. You may find it hard to contact us yourself. In this case, ask your midwife, health visitor, friends, or a family member to help you make that first call. Your GP can also make the referral. We know that pregnancy and the first year of your baby’s birth is a very important time.

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Vita is an award-winning, CQC registered healthcare provider