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Woman holding baby bumpWoman holding baby bump

​About mental health and pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of joy and excitement, but it can also make you feel stressed or worried. If these feelings don't pass, it can be a sign of something more serious.

Mental illness may be present before pregnancy. It can also develop during your pregnancy or within the early years following the birth of your baby. It can be mild, moderate or severe and need different kinds of care or treatment.

1 in 5 women are thought to experience mental health problems in pregnancy and as many as 50% of pregnant women suffer with some form of emotional distress.

You might feel there is a stigma related to mental health and feel guilty for having these emotions. This can add to feelings of low mood and anxiety.

It's important you seek help and support if you feel you need it.

Medication and pregnancy

You might be worried about taking mental health medications and effects they can have on your baby. Stopping your medication suddenly can increase the risk of relapse and becoming unwell. It can have a negative impact on your pregnancy and wellbeing.

Many prescribed medications are safe to take in pregnancy and the benefits to you outweigh the risk to your baby.

BUMPS website provides information on the best use of medication during pregnancy.

We recommend you speak to your General Practitioner (GP) or Mental Health Professional about stopping taking your medication. They'll discuss the options available to you to keep you and your baby safe.

Before becoming pregnant

Making the decision to have a baby can be life changing. It might make you apprehensive and anxious. It can be even more daunting if you, or your partner have a mental health condition.

The benefits of looking after your mental health when trying to conceive are just as important as stopping smoking or eating a healthy diet. Asking for help can put fears to rest and help you plan for a happy and healthy pregnancy, birth and parenthood.

The Perinatal Mental Health Team are trained professionals who support you before, during and after your pregnancy. To help keep you, your baby and your family well.

Contact your Community Midwife on +44 (0) 1534 449139 for an informal discussion or further advice.

Mental wellbeing during your pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a time of great joy, but it can also make you feel vulnerable, scared and anxious. These feelings are normal and a common part of pregnancy. There are lots of things you can do to help you stay well.

Ongoing mental health care

Your Community Midwife is there to support you throughout your pregnancy. You may also wish to continue seeing your GP or mental health practitioner. You'll also have access to the Perinatal Mental Health Team.

If you would like more information about mental wellness during pregnancy, Mind Jersey offer their booklet Understanding postnatal depression and perinatal mental health. It explains the possible causes of postnatal depression and other pregnancy related mental health issues.

Taking time for yourself

As an expectant mum, you can easily overlook your emotional wellbeing. You'll spend much of your time in pregnancy thinking about and caring for your baby. It's also important to take care of your own mental health and stay emotionally well.

Put yourself first sometimes:

  • take time out
  • have a bath
  • go for a meal
  • go for a walk
  • pamper yourself
  • relax

You're growing a new life inside you and it's hard work.

Accepting help

Pregnancy can be exhausting, especially if you have other children. It's OK to accept help for childcare, meals, housework and for you to take time to rest. The Jersey Child Care Trust can advise you on childcare facilities.

Talking about your wellbeing

Over 20% of women experience symptoms of anxiety and depression in pregnancy. With many more experiencing stress and upset. Talking about it can make you feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Talking to your family or friends might feel difficult. Chances are they have noticed something isn't quite right and will be happy to help you.

Your Community Midwife or Health Visitor

Your Community Midwife and Health Visitor are there to support you throughout your pregnancy. They can also refer you to other wellbeing services. Call +44 (0) 1534 449139 to ask your Community Midwife for advice.

Meet other parents

Antenatal classes are a great opportunity for you to meet and talk to other expectant parents.

Visit Antenatal classes to find out more on local groups and sessions or call +44 (0) 1534 449139 to ask your Community Midwife for advice.

Eating well

Morning sickness (nausea and vomiting) is very common especially in the first 3 months of your pregnancy. This may prevent you from eating a healthy diet, and regular meals. Eating well is not only important for the development of your baby, but also your mental wellbeing. It stabilises your sugar levels and improves your mood. The NHS website has helpful advice about managing vomiting and morning sickness.

Find out more about Healthy eating in pregnancy here.

Staying active

Exercise and staying active have great mental health benefits inside and outside of your pregnancy. It releases endorphins that help you feel happy.

The NHS website has advice on exercising safely during your pregnancy and offers tips on staying active.

Visit the Move More Jersey website for details of their Active Buggy Class. You can access 3 weeks of free buggy classes, which are designed to help new mums become more physically active and better equipped to sustain a healthily active lifestyle.

Birthable is a training programme based at CrossFit Gym. They run sessions for mums and pregnant mums to exercise with their babies (and bumps). They also offer free walks for mums and babies. To access the group and find out more visit Birthable Facebook page.

Getting rest

9 out of 10 pregnant women experience broken sleep so it's important that you rest when you need to.

A good bedtime routine can help you have a healthier sleep. Here are a few tips to aid restful sleep:

  • avoid caffeine and fluids 2 hours before bed
  • avoid heavy meals that could aggravate heartburn
  • reduce activity especially phone or screen time before sleep
  • practice relaxation techniques, mindfulness or yoga
  • empty your bladder before you go to bed
  • wear light clothing made from natural fibres to avoid getting too hot
  • use a pillow to support your bump or legs and lie on your side

Mindfulness

Taking part in mindfulness courses in pregnancy can help:

  • reduce your fear of labour
  • decrease your need for pain relief
  • lower the risk of postnatal depression

The NHS website provides tips on mindfulness. You can also find lots of free mindfulness apps in your app or play store.

Hypnobirthing

Hypnobirthing is a type of antenatal education that you can use during all types of birth. It teaches you and your birth partner about:

  • mindfulness
  • breathing techniques
  • visualisations and massage, amongst other relaxation tools

Creating a wellbeing plan

You can also create your wellbeing plan. This short Tommy's Youtube video provides you details of their wellbeing tool and plan.

Mental health conditions

The most common mental health conditions you may experience in pregnancy are anxiety and antenatal depression.

You may find it hard to control your worries or experience panic attacks. This can be very frightening and it's important you seek help.

You may also feel sad for weeks or months during your pregnancy. Left untreated, anxiety and antenatal depression can lead to prolonged postnatal depression after your baby is born.

Talk to your GP, Community Midwife or Health Visitor about how you feel. They're able to refer you to the appropriate services.

Pre-existing mental health conditions

You may enter pregnancy with a pre-existing mental health condition or distress. These can include:

  • bi-polar disorder
  • schizophrenia
  • OCD
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • birth trauma
  • eating disorders
  • distress and anxiety in becoming pregnant

The Maternity Department works with the Adult Mental Health Team, CAMHS, the Health Visiting Team and the Obstetric Team to look after your mental health before, during and after the birth of your baby.

The NHS website has further information about your mental health and keeping well in pregnancy. 

Screening for mental health conditions

Your first appointment at the Maternity Department is called your Booking Appointment. During this appointment, your midwife will ask questions to see how you are currently feeling, and if you have any mental health concerns.

Mental health issues can run in families so your midwife will also ask if you have any close family members with serious mental health conditions. It's important you answer honestly, so we can offer you the correct care and support.

If you're suffering with emotional or mental health difficulties, or have done in the past, your midwife will discuss this with you further. Together you can plan your ongoing support.

Your midwife will also ask your partner if they have any mental health concerns and offer them support.

Dads and partners

Pregnancy and the prospect of a new baby is also a life-changing event for dads and partners.

As a dad or partner, we encourage you to talk about your mental health freely. You're offered the same support as mums to look after your own wellbeing to benefit you and your family.

If you have any concerns about your own mental health, you can discuss them with your midwife, Health Visitor or GP who can refer you to the appropriate services.

Brighter Futures offers the Dad’s Club. This is a drop in group that gives an opportunity to dads to socialise with other dads whilst having fun with their children. They also have a supportive online community. Visit Brighter Futures Dads Club Facebook page to find out more. 

Services available

There is a wide range of Mental Health Professionals and services you can access. We work together to offer the highest level of mental health care for you and your family before, during and after your pregnancy.

Baby Steps

Baby Steps is a free, fun and informative antenatal and early postnatal programme. It's available for expectant mums and their partners.

Baby Steps

Tel: + 44 (0) 1534 443744 or + 44 (0) 1534 443745

You can speak to your midwife for a referral or Health Visitor.

Pregnancy in Mind (PiM)

PiM is a programme if you're an expectant parent who would like support managing your wellbeing. It focuses on techniques and strategies to help understand worries, anxieties and low mood in pregnancy and beyond. It also incorporates:

  • mindfulness
  • active relaxation
  • learning about baby senses

For more information email the PiM Team on call +44 (0) 1534 760800.

You can also speak about the programme to your:

  • midwife
  • GP
  • Health Visitor
  • other professional

They call help you complete a referral.

See Pregnancy in Mind (PiM) in the list of services offered by NSPCC Jersey Service Centre.

Peer Support from Mind Jersey

Mind Jersey offers peer support if you're a parent experiencing difficulties with your mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Mind Jersey

Email Peer Support from Mind Jersey

Tel: +44 (0) 1534 880584

Email your healthcare professional for a referral.

The Listening Lounge

The Listening Lounge is free of charge and provides you a safe space to talk about any concerns or difficulties.

Listening Lounge website

Call the Peer Team on +44 (0) 1534 866793 to book an informal appointment.

You can self-refer during your informal appointment, or by completing their online form.

Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-Visiting program (MECSH)

The MECSH program is a voluntary service offered by the Health Visiting Team and Family Nursing and Home Care. They can offer you tailored support in the comfort of your home.

Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-Visiting program (MECSH)

Call your Community Midwife on +44 (0) 1534 449139 for a referral or contact your Health Visitor.

Jersey Talking Therapies

If you're aged 18 or over Jersey Talking Therapies offers a free and confidential therapy service. You can self-refer for this.

Jersey Talking Therapies

Brighter Futures

If you are a pregnant mum, Brighter Futures offer a relaxation programme to help improve your wellbeing. Sessions include massage, visualisation and breathing techniques. Deep breathing can help to oxygenate the cells in the body, which will also benefit your baby.

Brighter Futures website

Call your Community Midwife on +44 (0) 1534 449139 for a referral.

Parent and Infant Psychotherapy Service (PIP)

PIP can help you if you're struggling to relate to or interact with your baby.

Parent and Infant Psychotherapy service

Your Health Visitor can refer you to this service.

Hub of Hope

The Hub of Hope is the UK's leading mental health support database. It helps you find mental health support and services in your local area.  

Antenatal Department mental health clinics

The Antenatal Department offers you 2 mental health clinics:

The Health Visitor and mental health practitioner clinic

Discuss your emotional health and wellbeing, including the changes that happen in pregnancy and the ongoing support available.

Call your Community Midwife on +44 (0) 1534 449139 for a referral or contact your Health Visitor.

Clinical Nurse Specialist and Consultant Psychiatrist clinic

This clinic helps women who:

  • have pre-existing mental health conditions
  • are struggling with their mental health
  • need extra support or guidance during pregnancy
  • need extra support or guidance after baby is born

Either a Clinical Nurse Specialist or Consultant Psychiatrist will see you, depending on the care you need. Your midwife, Health Visitor, GP or other Health Professional can refer you to this clinic.

Adult mental health

In an emergency

If you feel, you're in urgent need of mental health support:

Visit or contact the Accident and Emergency department

Call the Maternity Unit on +44 (0) 1534 442450

Both services are open 24 hours a day.

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