Survey finds few pregnant women, new mums get specialist mental health care

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3rd March 2017 18:02 - Health

Survey finds few pregnant women, new mums get specialist mental health care: According to a recent health survey of 2,300 women in the United Kingdom, conducted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, just 7 per cent of women who experience either anti-natal and post-natal mental health issues in the last five years were referred to see a specialist.Survey finds few pregnant women, new mums get specialist mental health care

The survey highlighted long waits to see specialist pregnancy mental health professionals, as well as low rates of specialist referrals and a lack of consensus over medication and support.

Of the respondents, 38 per cent of women who were referred to specialist care said that it took more than four weeks to be seen by a professional, with some respondents saying that they had to wait up to 12 months to receive treatment.

80 per cent of the survey respondents said that they had experienced at least one mental health issue either during or after their pregnancy. Of this percentage, low mood was experienced by more than two in three women, as well as anxiety (50 per cent) and depression (one in three).

The survey also revealed that pregnant women also received conflicting advice on how to stop, change or continue taking their medication.

When asked why they didn’t feel comfortable in admitting to health professionals that they were experiencing a mental health issue, lack of continuity of care was often cited as the barrier.

The respondents also suggested that there is a lack of bereavement support for those who had experienced a still birth or miscarriage. As well as this, breastfeeding support was also found to be lacking.

12 per cent of the respondents also admitted that their partner had experienced a mental health issue either during or after the pregnancy and were provided with little support.

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