The Mental Health Of Perinatal Mental Illness

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Perinatal mental illness is a collective term used to describe mental illnesses experienced by at least 10% of women during pregnancy and up until a year after birth (Hogg, 2014). Mental health is with paramount importance to the role of the midwife (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), 2014) as mental illness is a significant threat to the lives of mothers and can have a huge effect for their babies and families (Knight et al., 2015). Between 2009 and 2013 there were 161 maternal deaths related to mental health problems, one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the United Kingdom (UK) (Knight et al., 2015). The main types of mental health disorders, signs and symptoms along with possible treatments…show more content…
Social relationships, partnership dynamics, finances and responsibilities are changing. The uncertainties surrounding this unique role change can result in increased stress and anxiety (Hanley, 2015). Brunton et al. (2011) found that most women expressed worry in relation to labour and birth, coping in the postnatal period and fear about body changes. Clark et al. (2009) found that women were most dissatisfied with their body image in the early postnatal period. Body changes can be partially responsible for decreased intimacy between couples following child birth, further adding to women’s dissatisfaction and depressive feelings (Hanley, 2015). Additional challenges are faced by breastfeeding mothers in accepting the role of being mothers as well as sexual partners (Marques and Lemos, 2010). Midwives are ideally placed to offer support and advice to mothers faced by these challenges. Parent education, open discussions, early assessments and intervention can reduce the risk of onset, intensification and negative effect of mental health problems (Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), 2013). Midwives need to be able to recognise normal psychological adjustments to changes and be vigilant to deviations from the norm (NICE, 2014). Mental illness can have a negative impact on the life of the individual and their families, therefore its prevention and appropriate treatment requires a multidisciplinary collaborated working of health and
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