Mothers’ Mental Health Crisis – Government needs to do more to help new mums in need

New research has revealed that UK mums are at breaking point with insufficient support in coping with the changes that come with having a new baby. A huge 70% of new and expectant mums surveyed by The Baby Show said they experienced some sort of mental health problem during or after pregnancy. The most common was anxiety, suffered by over a third (36%), the baby blues (18%) and post-natal depression (12%).

Of the 1,000 new and expectant mums asked, a whopping 89% think the government needs to invest more money into helping new parents with their mental health and nearly a quarter (23%) said they needed to do it as a matter of urgency.

When it comes to help, rather than the professionals, new mums who suffered turned to family, according to 51% of those who answered, with the second option being their GP or midwife (30%). 

The Baby Show, which is the UK’s biggest pregnancy and parenting event is on at the London ExCeL today, Sunday 1st March. Neev Spencer says: ‘Maintaining your Mental Health in pregnancy and beyond comes from knowledge of the condition and what you can do to prevent things spiralling. In my own experience, I wasn’t educated enough in post-natal anxiety and therefore didn’t know I had the condition. I feel it’s vital to pass on knowledge and expertise to pregnant women so they can understand and better prepare themselves.  No one is exempt from some form of ‘baby blues’ because every new mother will be affected by a hormonal imbalance of some kind. However, knowing the signs and the tips to help and reach out to people can be extremely helpful. The Baby Show has given an important subject a brilliant platform to reach out to expectant families and better inform and educate them. I’m proud to bring back my Powerful Baby Brain Live talk with such a fantastic panel of experts.’

Nearly two thirds (63%) of new mums said their self-esteem changed for the worse when they became a parent, but one in 10 (9%) said they got MORE confident as they took on their new role.

Dr. Sarah Vohra, a leading consultant psychiatrist, says: “These stats are alarming and reveal the desperate need for the government to invest money in mental health for new mothers. Whilst I’m pleased and thankful there is so much more awareness of mental health issues than there were 20 years ago, we need to ensure we have resources to meet this demand. If you are a new mum, perhaps a worried partner, and you are struggling pre-, peri- or post-pregnancy with negative thoughts, it is important to speak out to make sure you get the right support to get you through.”

Fear of the unknown seems to be the biggest worry for pregnant first-time mums (65%), followed by the fear of pain of actually giving birth (52%) and any medical complications that might arise (46%). And when the baby has arrived, research found that the biggest pressure facing new parents appears to be money worries (31%), followed by feelings of loneliness and isolation (18%) and the fear of inadequacy and not being able to cope (12%). 

Midwife Louise Broadbridge says: “It is really important that we start an open discussion about the challenges facing new parents, so that there can be a certain level of readiness for those entering parenthood. We are so quick to pull the party poppers following the announcement of a soon to arrive baby – as is it should be! However, becoming a parent is tough and doesn’t come with a manual or a map and talking about how couples can navigate their way through would vastly help to not only cope with all the emotional and physical changes but to recognise when the emotions being experienced have become a cause for concern.”

The Baby Show with Lidl, will take place at ExCeL London until Sunday 1st March 2020 where the Live Talks will address important topics such as; How To Survive The First Three Months, Motherhood: Expectation vs. Reality, Strong Mums: Postnatal Health & Fitness and How To Approach Birth with Positivity and Confidence.

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