Maternal Mental Health Week

May 3, 2021

Maternal Mental Health Week

This week is Maternal Mental Health week, and this year the focus is on Journeys to Recovery. It is always important to speak about your mental health with trusted others, and equally to feel comfortable reaching out to seek further support when you need it. But to allow women to feel comfortable doing this, everyone needs to have an awareness of how mental health can be affected after having a baby, and it is our shared responsibility to ask mothers if they are OK, in a meaningful way.

The Bump Start workers have been furthering their knowledge and awareness of mental health during and after pregnancy by accessing lots of great training available. This has included some brilliant training from Make Birth Better about Birth Trauma and how this can affect a mother’s mental health postnatally, and also in future pregnancies.

25-40% of women experience  labour and birth as traumatic, and go on to develop Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or anxiety and OCD as a direct result of this. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of birth trauma, so we can begin to recognise these in ourselves and others, and seek the right support. Symptoms of birth trauma include nightmares, flashbacks, irritability, replaying your experience over and over in your mind and an inability to “switch off” to the dangers of the world around you. Birth Trauma can also be triggered by fertility issues, hyperemesis and breastfeeding trauma.

If you feel that you have been affected by a traumatic birth, or pregnancy experience, don’t feel your feelings are not valid, they are and there is specialist support you can access. You can reach out to your GP, Health Visitor , Midwife, or Bump Start worker if you have one, who can make sure you are linked in with appropriate mental health support. Other agencies who can specifically help with Birth and Perinatal Trauma include Make Birth Better, SANDS, The Birth Trauma Association and Pregnancy Sickness Support. With the right support, you will find your own #journeystorecovery. Maternal Mental Health Matters and so does your birth story.

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