Perinatal mental health (PMH) problems are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first two years following the birth of a child. Perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of new and expectant mums and covers a wide range of conditions (NHS, 2021). The most common mental health conditions experienced are depression and anxiety disorders.


Pregnant women or new parents can experience:

  • Depression - Persistent sad, feeling down or ‘empty’ mood, feeling hopeless
  • PTSD
  • GAD – excessive and uncontrollable worries potentially around the safety or health of their children
  • OCD - including fear of harm to their unborn/children
  • Health anxiety - a fear that they are ill or may become ill

Support available

This leaflet provides you with some basic information about taking care of your mental health during pregnancy and post-delivery.

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust have produced a range of self-help guides, including one on post-natal depression that is available to download here.

Anxiety and depression in pregnancy, post-birth or if you have a child under 2 can be treated via psychological therapies. Visit our service lookup here to see if we deliver a talking therapy service in your local area. If you are pregnant or have a child under 2 years old you will be prioritised at your local MHM therapy service. Alternatively, you can visit the NHS website here and enter your postcode to find your local service. 

Most local areas also have specialist Peri-natal Mental Health Services if you are pregnant or have a child under 1 years old and you are suffering with moderate to severe mental health difficulties. You can be referred to your local team by a healthcare professional such as your midwife, health visitor, GP or a mental health professional.