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Mental health warning for pregnant women

12th November 2012

A survey has found that over one third of women who suffer depression during their pregnancies experience suicidal thoughts.

pregnancy

The poll of 260 women, which was carried out by the Royal College of Midwives and the Netmums website, found less than a quarter (22%) asked their doctor for help.

The research also showed that women who experienced depression during pregnancy (antenatal depression) had a higher danger of "worsening mental health problems" than women with postnatal depression.

The poll found 80% of women who were depressed during their pregnancies also experienced postnatal depression after their babies were born.

Around half (56%) of the respondents said they had experienced depression during their first pregnancy, while nearly 66% reported issues during their second pregnancy. 

Less than a third of women (30%) said they were informed about postnatal depression by midwives.

More than half of women said their depression had influenced how they bonded with their baby and over a third (38%) said they had issues bonding with their child.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: "If we can identify women as early as possible then we could prevent them declining into much more serious mental health problems."

Sally Russell, co-founder of Netmums, said: "Midwives can do a lot to help and reassure, so they should be open with mothers and fathers-to-be about the condition and trained to spot the signs."

"Those suffering often don't know who to talk to, so it's essential they know they can be open and honest about how they are feeling with midwives." 

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