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Mental Health Crisis for Women in Pregnancy

The Maternal Mental Health Alliance has released findings following a rapid review of the impact of Covid-19 on women during and after pregnancy.

Concerned about the increased mental health challenges facing women during and after pregnancy as a result of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) commissioned the Centre for Mental Health to deliver a rapid review of the challenge the pandemic has placed on perinatal mental health and services.  The review found:

  • The pandemic has posed mental health challenges for women during pregnancy and early motherhood
  • The impact has been unequal
  • Perinatal mental health services had worrying gaps even before the crisis
  • Informal support has been detrimentally impacted
  • Changes to labour and birth because of the pandemic have increased stress and anxiety
  • Concern for infants and babies has increased stress and anxiety
  • There have been missed opportunities for understanding / fully responding to what being classed as vulnerable really means in the perinatal period
  • Whilst still awaiting data, significant concerns exist for women with pre-existing mental health conditions
  • Despite the increased need, services supporting women and families were impacted detrimentally
  • The workforce supporting women and families in the perinatal period is facing its own wellbeing challenges and needs support
  • Increased demand for voluntary and community services, who themselves have been impacted
  • Virtual contact massively increased with mixed potential consequences and a need for evaluation

Download the full report: Maternal mental health during a pandemic

The forthcoming Perinatal Mental Health Services CPD certified conference taking place virtually on Thursday 6th May 2021, falls during Maternal Mental Health Awareness week 2021 and shares the theme of supporting mums during difficult times by looking at improving perinatal mental health services and access and support during and beyond Covid-19. 

Chaired by Elaine Hanzak, Author, Advocate and Speaker with Lived Experience, the conference will consider learning from both the MMHA report and the MBRRACE-UK rapid care report focusing on recommendations for improvement during Covid-19, and an extended interactive session will cover crisis prevention and the role of the home treat team. National and local experts will share best practice tips and advice for; supporting men whose wives or partners are experiencing PND, learning from mother and baby units, supporting mothers at higher risk due to birth trauma or previous mental health issues, and developing the role of perinatal mental health champions.

“The pandemic has created a mental health crisis for many women in pregnancy and after the birth of their child. Women have experienced a combination of lockdown, economic uncertainty, job insecurity, and the impact of the virus itself, coupled with a reduced ability to gain access to perinatal health services and mental health services. This is likely to have long-term consequences for women and their families as well as for health services.”

Maternal Mental Health during a Pandemic, Centre for Mental Health March 2021

“It was evident that changes to service provision as a direct consequence of the pandemic meant that women were not able to access appropriate mental health care.” 

MBRRACE-UK - Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care rapid report 2021