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Better mental health support needed during and after pregnancy

08 December 2015
Pregnant woman

A report released today by MBRRACE-UK has found that while pregnancy related deaths are falling, there is still room for significant improvement, particularly in relation to women’s mental health.

The report, Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care, which looked at maternal deaths from 2011 – 2013, found that around a quarter of maternal deaths between six weeks and a year after birth are related to mental health problems, and one in seven of these women committed suicide.

This follows the findings of Bliss’ most recent report, Bliss baby report 2015: hanging in the balance, which found that at 30 per cent of neonatal units in England, parents had no access to mental health support. This is despite the fact that 40 per cent of mothers who give birth prematurely suffer from postnatal depression, far higher than the national average.

Caroline Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss, said: “It is extremely concerning that women are not receiving the right care during pregnancy and after birth. Pregnancy and the post-natal period can be a very difficult time and this can be exacerbated by pre-existing mental health conditions. It is vital that these women are receiving the very best support so that they are able to care for their babies.

“Should a baby need to spend time on a neonatal unit, it is vital that this support is available throughout the family’s stay.”

For further information, you can read the MBRRACE-UK report here, or the Bliss baby report here.

If you are pregnant or have just given birth and need mental health support, you can call Mind, the mental health charity, 0300 123 3393. 

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