When you have your first antenatal appointment you should be asked if you have ever had problems with your mental health in the past, and whether you have been bothered by feeling down or hopeless lately. You should also be asked about this again following the birth of your baby. These questions are asked of every pregnant women and new mum, not just those who have (or have had) mental health problems.
Asking these questions, and listening to the answers, allows your care team to pick up on any signs of mental health problems. It is also an opportunity for you and your midwife, GP or health visitor to discuss any mental health problems, treatment and care options, and what this may mean for you, your pregnancy and your baby.
If you, your midwife or your health visitor think you may have a mental health problem, you should be assessed by your GP.
If you have – or have had – a severe mental illness, your midwife or doctor should develop a care plan with you in the first three months of your pregnancy, and you may be referred to the perinatal mental health team. Your care plan can include input from your family and carers too, if appropriate. The plan should be written down and given to you, and be recorded in your medical notes.