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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Wokingham

Maternity and mental health; what's your story?

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

Our new survey aims to improve local mental health support in maternity care and to ensure birthing parents are supported before, during and after birth. Survey extended until Fri 27th January 2023.

Pregnancy is a significant life event and a period of great change for everyone involved. As such, it can be especially challenging to look after your own wellbeing and mental health. With one in four women experiencing mental health problems during pregnancy and in the first year following the birth of a child, support from maternity services can significantly impact their mental health and wellbeing.

Today we have launched a local survey to gather residents’ experience of maternal mental health support if you have given birth since April 2020 onwards, to coincide with Healthwatch England’s national campaign.

The aim of the survey is to better understand what is working and what needs improving locally for people who develop mental health difficulties relating to their maternity experience.

Alice Kunjappy-Clifton, Healthwatch Wokingham Borough Lead said:

“It's of vital importance that local NHS services understand the mental health and maternity experience of those who have used services in the last two years. Our local survey will not only inform local services but also services nationwide, about what changes need to be made and what support is needed for people during and after pregnancy, now and in the future.”
“Whether you’ve had a positive or negative experience with maternal mental health support during or after pregnancy in the last two years, we would love to hear from you. Fill in our survey so your voice is heard. Your voice can help us improve mental health support for new parents.”

An opportunity for you to share your views Over the last two years, NHS maternity services have been under pressure. The lack of support available to help mothers’ and birthing parents’ mental health is also appearing to be worsening across the UK.

This local survey and national campaign aim to give you the opportunity to share your views and experiences.

If you have given birth from April 2020 onwards, we would want to know whether the support you received for your mental health during pregnancy and birth met your needs.

We also want to see if you had your six-week postnatal check-up and what it was like.

Who do we want to hear from:

  • If you have given birth since April 2020 onwards, and have experienced mental health difficulties before, during or after giving birth.

  • Discrimination against women from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities is known to negatively impact women's ability to speak up, be heard and experience of maternity care. This can have a huge impact on mental health along with getting the right support needed. We want to hear about your experiences.

  • Expecting and new LGBTQ+ parents have told Healthwatch they don’t always feel included by maternity services. Trans and non-binary people have told us they want gender-inclusive maternity care. When this doesn’t happen, it can have a huge impact on their mental wellbeing. We want to know about your experiences.

  • Traumatic or different births to the one you expected can have a big impact on mums, particularly if you’ve had to go through it alone. We want to know how your mental health has been supported after a difficult birthing experience.

  • Losing a baby – either during pregnancy or after birth – is a profoundly painful and often isolating experience. It’s vital that you get support for your mental health, but bereaved families are slipping through the cracks. We would like to hear from you.

  • Going through IVF treatment can have a huge impact on your mental health. You might have feelings of depression, anxiety, grief and more. We want to know you if you’ve had any support with how you’re feeling, or if you’ve been left to cope alone.

  • All parents feel lonely sometimes but being a single mum can be particularly isolating. If you've had a baby on your own in the last two years, we want to know if you have been offered or needed any support for your mental health.

The information you give us in our survey is confidential but will be used by Healthwatch to help the NHS understand what they need to put in place to better support people like you in the future.

Please take our survey, share your story and have your voice heard to help make change.

Please share this page and survey with your networks and anyone you know who may want to read more and fill out the survey.

Start survey here.



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