May 16, 2023

Motherhood and mental health

Sophie Allen
Sophie Allen
Motherhood and mental health

Every year, on the first Wednesday of May, the world celebrates Maternal Mental Health Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of mental health during pregnancy and after childbirth, as well as the impact that mental health can have on the wellbeing of both the mother and the child.

The theme of this year's Maternal Mental Health Day is "Together In A Changing World" which highlights the importance of supporting women who have experienced mental health challenges during before, during and after pregnancy. It also recognises the significant strides that have been made in recent years to improve maternal mental health care and support.

You are not alone

Maternal mental health is a critical issue that affects millions of women worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder, primarily depression and anxiety. These disorders can have long-lasting effects on the mother's health and the child's development, which is why it's essential to address them early.

Why is understanding Maternal mental health important?

There are many reasons why maternal mental health is essential.

  • For one, mental health disorders during pregnancy can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight, which can lead to developmental problems in the child.

  • Additionally, maternal depression and anxiety can affect the mother's ability to bond with her baby and can make it more challenging to breastfeed and care for the infant.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the need for improved maternal mental health care.

  • Pregnant women and new mothers have been particularly affected by the pandemic, as they face increased stress, anxiety, and isolation.

  • The pandemic has also disrupted routine prenatal and postnatal care, making it harder for women to access the support they need.

So, what kind of support is available?

Fortunately, there are many resources available to support women's mental health during pregnancy and after childbirth.

  • For example, healthcare providers can screen women for mental health disorders and refer them to appropriate treatment and support services.

  • Peer support groups and counselling services can also help women manage their mental health and connect with others who have experienced similar challenges.

Not only Mums...

It's essential to recognise that maternal mental health is not just a women's issue. Fathers, partners, and family members also play a crucial role in supporting women's mental health during pregnancy and after childbirth. Supporting new mothers and fathers in their journey to parenthood is essential for promoting positive mental health outcomes for both parents and their children.

Pregnant mother with father


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