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mental health

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What is perinatal mental health?

While it’s a clinical term, perinatal mental health is a useful over-arching phrase which describes emotional wellbeing in the specific window of time from conception to your child reaching the age of one.

We try and shy away from medical terms as it’s important our service is relatable and our team tends to use day-to-day language. For many years people understood the acronym PND but we started to realise it was sometimes creating confusion and doesn’t relate to the full spectrum of challenges that can be experienced, such as anxiety, OCD, birth trauma or the more severe form, postpartum psychosis.

What does it really feel like?

Medical terms are useful but sometimes it can be hard for parents to articulate how they are feeling. We speak to mums and dads on a daily basis and have collected some of their descriptions to express the experience of perinatal mental health challenges: 


  • A constant feeling of worry
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate, sit still or relax
  • Scared of things you wouldn’t usually be scared of
  • Feeling on edge
  • Everything is overwhelming and small tasks feel really difficult
  • Finding it hard to sleep, waking up lots in the night or early


  • Recurring worrying thoughts, often about your baby’s routine, health, eating habits etc
  • Your mind just won’t switch off, even when you’re exhausted


  • Losing your ‘fizz’ for life
  • Everything seems like an effort – there’s no joy in things
  • Feeling tired all the time or at certain times of the day
  • Feelings of confusion, you can’t think straight
  • A constant feeling of sadness and frequently finding yourself crying
  • A sense of hopelessness

Low Self Confidence

  • Feelings of guilt about not being a ‘perfect’ mum
  • Worrying that the way you are feeling will affect your baby
  • Comparing yourself to other mums, seeing them as coping much better than you
  • Not wanting to socialise with other mums for fear of feeling judged or not measuring up

difficulty bonding

  • Not feeling the initial ‘wave of unconditional love’ that is often in film scenes
  • Feeling a sense of detachment from your baby
  • Constantly questioning how you feel and ‘checking in’ on the relationship
  • Feeling frightened around your baby, like the sense of responsibility is overwhelming

How we can help

We offer a range of carefully-developed services to meet the needs of families in our local communities.