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Maternal mental health - women's voices

The RCOG has launched the results of a survey of over 2300 women about their experiences of mental health problems during and after pregnancy.

Women have spoken out frankly about their experiences of perinatal mental health problems, engagement with healthcare professionals and the quality of NHS and social care received. The results present a stark picture of how services are letting down some of the most vulnerable women in our society, and provides key recommendations for healthcare professionals, managers, providers, commissioners and policy-makers.

Key findings

  • Women reported experiencing low rates of referral, long waits, regional variation of care, a lack of continuity of care, misunderstanding and stigma
  • The mental health of women’s partners is also often neglected by healthcare professionals and services

Our infographic (PDF 1.4mb) shows some of the myths and facts around maternal mental health.

You can download the full report below.

Maternal Mental Health - Women’s Voices report (PDF 2.8mb)

This report outlines the findings of a 2016 survey on women’s experiences of maternal mental health care, and makes recommendations for improvements

About maternal mental health

As many as one in five women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or in the first year after birth. Suicide is a leading cause of maternal deaths in the UK within a year after childbirth.

Despite this, pregnant women and new mothers have no access to specialist community perinatal mental health services in almost half of the UK.

The Government has identified mental health as a national priority, offering us a golden opportunity to improve the care we provide.

Useful links

Seeking prompt help is important. Support and information are available via one of the numbers below:

  • Samaritans – 116 123 (24 hrs a day)
  • Mind – 0300 123 3393 (9am – 6pm Mon-Fri)
  • NHS Choices – 111 (24 hrs a day)

Or visit these websites for details of how you can get further support: