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Raising maternal mental health awareness

Author: Clare Middleton

This week (1-7 May) is National Maternal Health Awareness Week.

Pregnancy and the birth of a child is such a happy and joyful time. But for some women, it can be a time of high anxiety, low mood, trauma and depression.

National Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week has been developed to help women access support and to increase awareness of maternal mental health.

Only in its second year, it is hoped that by raising awareness, more resources will be invested in women’s mental health around pregnancy and childbirth.

Did you know that suicide is the leading cause of direct maternal deaths occurring up to 1 year after the end of pregnancy?

According to the Birth Trauma Association, around 10,000 women a year develop PTSD following childbirth, but as many as 200,000 more women feel traumatised by childbirth. This trauma can have long term consequences on the mother in all aspects of her life.

Many hospitals across the UK now offer a ‘debriefing’ after childbirth, where parents are able to sit down with a midwife, look at the medical records and discuss what happened during the birth. Too often, during childbirth, the opportunity to fully understand what is happening is lost, whether due to pain, medication or the speed at which events happen. The ‘debrief’ is a chance to ask the questions that you were not able to ask at the time.

At Atherton Godfrey, our medical negligence team have helped many women find the answers they need. If you have concerns about any aspect of your treatment in labour, or the antenatal or postnatal period, then our specialist team may be able to help.