It's more than postnatal depression.
You may have heard the terms "perinatal mental health" and "maternal mental health" used interchangeably. Both refer to mental health during pregnancy and up to two years after giving birth.
The word "peri" comes from Latin and means "around," while "natal" means "birth".
Most people are aware of postnatal depression, or PND, but depression can also occur during pregnancy. Other perinatal mental illnesses include anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders.
These illnesses can range from mild to severe, and require specialist treatment as soon as possible. Some conditions may have existed before pregnancy and got worse during the perinatal period, or shown up for the first time.
The most serious perinatal mental health problem is considered to be postpartum psychosis, and should be treated as a medical emergency if suspected.
women experience a perinatal mental health problem
will hide or underplay maternal mental health difficulties
is the leading cause of maternal death in the first postnatal year
Anyone can experience a perinatal mental health problem, although there are some factors which increase someone's chance of becoming unwell, including:
We know how to treat maternal mental health problems. With the right care and support, it's possible to recover and enjoy being a parent.
Guidance if you are worried that you or a loved one has a maternal mental health problem
Organisations that offer maternal mental health support
Mental health and wellbeing tips for women who are pregnant or have recently given birth