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Feeling low during pregnancy or after having a baby

​Pregnancy and birth are not always what you expect. Some women might develop a physical problem like high blood pressure, while others may suffer from anxiety or depression. Find out what help is available to you here.

It’s ok not to feel ok

It is very common to feel low around the time of having a baby. Around one in five women do.

Lewisham Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) has developed this page for women and their partners, friends and family, as a resource for getting help when they are experiencing some kind of mental distress, however mild or severe it may be.

Your mental health is very important. It can affect the way you think, feel and behave and it can even cause physical symptoms. Don't feel you must suffer in silence. Everyone knows what to do if they have a physical problem and there are several places where you can get help if you don’t feel ok.

Here's how a group of local women who felt mentally unwell around the time of having a baby described it:

  • weak

  • stressed

  • miserable

  • worthless

  • on edge

  • hemmed in

  • overwhelmed

  • useless

  • isolated

  • pointless

  • disconnected

  • struggling

  • ‘I didn’t want to be with myself’.

 Some women said:

  • ‘My husband was really worried’

  • ‘My partner noticed I was ignoring baby. I never would have harmed her but she would be lying next to me crying and I would be ignoring her’

  • ‘I didn’t attach to the baby straight away and that made me feel worse’

  • ‘I thought you had to be suicidal to need help. I wasn’t suicidal – I didn’t want to leave the baby and I could get out of bed. I just cried all day’ 

  • ‘I didn’t want to go out. I just hid away’

  • ‘I didn’t want to be with all those women who were obviously happy and coping really well’

  • ‘I went to my GP and he said, “I don’t know how to help you but I will find out.” He was as good as his word – called me back within an hour and got me help’.

Where to get help

You are not alone. It’s really important that you tell someone how you’re feeling. Your midwife, health visitor or GP should know what to do and how to help you.

Some women worry that if they tell a professional how they really feel, Children’s Social Care will be called in and their baby may be taken away. This is very rare. Everyone wants to keep mums and babies together and get families the help they need if they are having problems.

Here is a list of local and national places where you can get support if you are feeling mentally unwell. Speak to your GP, midwife or health visitor for a referral as there are many services you can use free of charge if you are referred. Alternatively there are services you can contact directly. Some are free while others cost money.

Mindful Mums 
07850 639818

Lewisham Mindful Mums offers free group sessions that help pregnant women and new mothers in the borough to stay emotionally well and develop confidence and social connections during pregnancy and the first year after birth.

SLaM (South London and Maudsley) free 24-hour mental health helpline
0800 731 2864

This helpline is staffed by a team of six nurses, working as a single point of contact for people living in the boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. It is for patients, carers and anyone who needs advice and help while in crisis or facing difficulties dealing with mental illness.

Lewisham Kaleidoscope midwifery team

The team is dedicated to caring for women who would benefit from additional support before, during and after the birth of their baby. Ask your midwife or GP for a referral.

We are a free and confidential NHS service and are part of the national Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme. We can offer a range of short-term psychological therapies to adults 18 years and over who are registered with a Lewisham GP. We can help with problems such as low mood, anxiety and stress and offer treatments face to face, over the phone, by computer (CCBT) or in group settings.

Other sources:

 Support for dads