Jargon buster


The placenta (also known as afterbirth) allows your baby to get all its oxygen and nutrients from you.

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Emotional Health

Contact: (0191) 282 0121 - Birth Reflections with a Midwife

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

Many people experience unexpected emotional changes during pregnancy.  As your body changes physically, so your thoughts, feelings and emotions will change and both you and your partner may experience these changes.  You will see your midwife regularly throughout your pregnancy and this is an ideal opportunity to discuss how you are feeling.

There are many sources of help and information.  Meeting with other people who are having a baby can be very supportive.

You may be surprised to know just how many places there are where you can meet , such as Children’s Centres, Baby Café, Drop-in Centres, Aquanatal Sessions and so on. Your midwife will tell you about the groups that meet locally.

After your baby is bornShow [+]Hide [-]

A few days after the birth of your baby you may begin to feel emotional and upset. You may feel anxious and tense and find it difficult to cheer up. Some mothers have aches and pains for which there is no medical cause, or they may feel unwell but have no particular symptoms.

Many mothers who have the blues feel tired and lethargic for much of the time, and may experience difficulty sleeping. The baby blues affect around 50 – 80% of mothers in the first couple of weeks following birth. New parents have to respond to a lot of changes when caring for a new baby.  Tiredness following the birth may be increased due to feeding patterns and caring for the rest of the family. Rest and quiet are really important although it may be hard to get either whilst caring for a new baby.

There are also hormonal changes occurring at this time, some hormone levels are falling whilst new hormones are being released into your blood stream.  In most cases the blues only last for a few days and then the feelings begin to fade. Allow yourself to cry and express your emotions. Talk to your family and friends and allow them to help you so that you can rest. Your midwife and health visitor are also there for advice and support.  Be reassured that this will not last and you will soon begin to feel better.

Postnatal DepressionShow [+]Hide [-]

If these symptoms continue or get worse, you may be suffering from post natal depression. This affects approximately 10% to 15% of new mothers. You may also suffer from postnatal depression without ever having the baby blues.

Signs of Post Natal Depression (PND)

PND has many symptoms – you may feel sad and cry frequently, you may be anxious and worried about your own health and/or that of your baby. It may be difficult to concentrate and you may find simple tasks overwhelming. You may experience lack of interest in the pleasures of life and your sleep pattern and appetite are often changed. Most mothers who have this illness may feel guilty that they are not ‘coping’ as they feel they should be.

What to expect if you have PND

Do not carry on and hope it will go away - it is a real condition and can be treated successfully. Make contacts with health professionals - your midwife, health visitor or GP and tell them exactly how you feel. They are there to help. You may need to be seen by your doctor to receive the right treatment for you. This may be counselling (talk therapy) or medication.

Where to get helpShow [+]Hide [-]

How to help yourself

  • Find someone to talk to and tell them how you feel.
  • Find time to look after yourself even if it is only a few minutes a day. Take a long bath,  go for a walk – do whatever you enjoy.
  • You may find it helpful to keep a daily diary expressing your feelings. Once you begin to feel better you can look back and see how much you are.
  • Be honest about how much you can do and ask for help.
  • Sometimes there may be bad days, even when you are feeling better.

How partners can help

  • Accept that there is a problem and that your partner may not be her usual self.
  • Encourage her to seek professional advice if she has not already done so.
  • Your partner may be feeling guilty. You can help by showing your love and support.
  • Give her time, listen to her and allow her to express her feelings.
  • Assure her that you have confidence in her and tell her this as many times as necessary.
  • Offer help with all aspects of childcare and home life.
  • When you cannot be there arrange other help which is acceptable to your partner – this will enable her to have time for herself.

Partner's feelings

Also remember that this is a time of change for you too and that having extra responsibilities and the challenges a new baby brings to your life and your family will be great. If you also find it difficult to cope, then you too should talk to some one about your feelings. Speak to your friends and family as well as  your GP, midwife or Health Visitor.

Birth Reflections at the RVI 

A chance to discuss your experiences of labour and birth with a midwife.

Telephone (0191) 282 0212 - leave a message and we will return your call.

Midwife Counsellors at the RVI 

Telephone (0191) 282 5503 - leave a message and we will return your call.

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