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Depression and anxiety can affect women at any time in their life, but there is an increased chance during pregnancy and the first year following the birth of a baby.
Up to 1 in 10 women experience depression in their pregnancy, and 1 in 6 women experience depression in the first year after birth.
Anxiety conditions are thought to be as common, with some women experiencing both conditions at the same time.
It is common for women to experience mental ill health for the first time in pregnancy.
If you have previously had mental health concerns, talk to your midwife or GP as soon as you learn you’re pregnant. Don't stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor or psychiatrist first.
If you have concerns, ask your LMC to refer you to Aronui Ora, maternal mental health service.
During your pregnancy, your midwife will ask you if you have ever had problems with your mental health in the past and about your current emotional wellbeing. You can talk to your midwife or GP at any time you’re worried about your mental health.
Some women worry about telling healthcare professionals how they’re feeling because they fear they will be judged as a parent. In reality, your feelings are normal and healthcare professionals work really hard to get mums well so they can continue to look after their children.
Your midwife will again ask about your current emotional wellbeing. Don't be afraid to tell your midwife how you’re feeling, as this can help them to identify if you are unwell or might become unwell.
Postnatal depression can start at any time in the first year after being birth, and it affects 1 in 10 new mothers.
It is common for women to feel down, tearful or anxious in the first few days after giving birth, this is often called the “baby blues”and is considered normal. It shouldn't last more than 2 weeks after the birth. If your symptoms last longer or start later, please talk to your midwife or GP. The earlier postnatal depression is diagnosed and treated, the quicker you’ll be able to manage it.
Remember, you can talk to your midwife or GP at any time you’re worried about your mental health.
Research shows that partners can also be affected by mental health problems during pregnancy and the first year after birth. Please get them to talk to their GP as the impact of untreated mental health problems can have long-lasting consequences on partners and children.