I was delighted to read in The Guardian recently that a new initiative by the NSPCC has been established to support parents’ mental health during pregnancy and the year following the birth of their child.
Recent research reported in The Telegraph suggests that as many as one in three mums-to-be will experience depression in pregnancy. When I originally established the first ever dedicated resource to depression in pregnancy in 2004, the figure was believed to be around 1 in ten, although from the hundreds of women that contacted me from then on, I had a feeling those figures weren’t the full picture. Even when I spoke about my experience in The Guardian in 2008, the figures reported were relatively low compared to now, although at last depression in pregnancy was showing up on the healthcare radar.
Of course the causes of poor mental health in pregnancy vary from woman to woman; a history of miscarriage or still birth may be just one of the many reasons, for others the baby may be unplanned or unwanted. Finding ways to support women and their partners or families when they’re suffering has got to be a step in the right direction.
The NSPCC’s initiative is called Pregnancy in Mind, and at the moment from what I can see it’s run by volunteers and only available in Swindon at the time of writing…but it’s a start. Hopefully the programme will be rolled out across the country and more parents can benefit soon. As I am a qualified therapist trained in Mindfulness, based on the evidence of how this can help, I am now offering mindfulness consultations at my practice in and around Milton Keynes.
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