Postnatal anxiety is a mental health condition that can impact on a person’s thinking, feeling or mood, it may affect the person’s ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis.
How do I know if I have postnatal anxiety?
Physical symptoms of anxiety can include hot flushes, feeling faint, nausea, feeling tight chested, dizzy, difficulties with sleeping and reduced appetite. From a psychological perspective, you may have feelings of dread, racing thoughts, dwelling on negative experiences and this may impact your ability to interact positively with your child.
Postnatal anxiety refers to a range of conditions from General Anxiety Disorder, (GAD), Obsessive Complusive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorders and Phobias. Phobias often include needle phobia, tokophobia, fear of childbirth and social phobias such as agoraphobia.
The impact of postnatal anxiety can impact on your infant’s physical, emotional and social development. Infants may show their anxiety/stress in difficulties with sleeping, eating, excessive crying, gastric upsets, such as reflux, inability to concentrate and may either become hyperactive or withdrawn.
How can we help?
At the antenatal contact, new birth visit, six-to eight week review and your 9-11 month developmental contact the professional conducting this review will complete the Perinatal Maternal Mental Health screening tool to assess your mood.
If low to moderate concerns are highlighted you can be offered ‘listening visits’; support with relaxation and mindfulness.
Should you wish, we can also request support from the following:
- 1-1 Family Support with a Healthy Family Practitioner
- Support from Together with Baby | Essex Partnership University NHS Trust (eput.nhs.uk)
- Your GP for further referrals, medication, counselling
What happens next?
Following their review of your Perinatal Maternal Mental Health screening, your health visitor will develop an action plan, to support the family, if there are low to moderate concerns.
If we you show moderate to high concerns then we may refer you onto the primary care liaison service or your doctor.