Mental Health

On the 28th of April 2021 I spoke to Kerry from the Macclesfield homebirth team, Lorna that is a perinatal mental health midwife, Ruth from the Smile group and Heather who is a mental health, health visitor.

Kerry told us how being part of the homebirth team can give you continuity of care in your pregnancy and postnatally which affects your mental health. If you are part of this team you are assigned to one midwife, so they get to know you and you them. They will support you in preparing and having a homebirth. If you have one midwife, you are more likely to tell them if you need help or support with your mental health. If you have low mood or postnatal depression, they will support you to get you the help you need that’s right for you.

Lorna a perinatal mental health midwife tells me how midwives look and ask for signs of low mood, in each of your appointments. They ask how your emotions are and how you are feeling in yourself. Its normal that they ask about any current or previous mental health issues so you can be referred. If you have a mental health issue you can be case loaded to Lorna so she is your midwife, she will be there for all your appointments if that is what you need. The support is personal to each woman.

Sometimes women are taking anti-depression medication before pregnancy, they are encouraged to talk to their GP and decide what’s the right course of action for them. The midwife works with you on this, she may signpost you to talking therapies which you can self-refer to, and you will be seen quickly.

Home start is another service that is available. It’s 1-1 support to put a plan in place for you to what is right for you. It might mean more appointments in pregnancy or postnatally, it might mean daily phone calls, its about finding what’s right for you and your mental health.

The environment around you, whist in labour makes a difference, take time to think about what helps you to relax and how you can use these things at home or in the hospital. Take a hospital tour in person or a virtual one online.

Completing a birth plan can help you to feel prepared and reduce anxiety. Your midwife will go through the plan with you and talk about what is realistic for you. Lorna can create a detailed plan with you and any triggers that you may have so the midwife knows not to use them. Tommies birth plan is very clear and can help you give you an idea of where to start.

Your birth plan is all about you and what you would like to happen.

Once your baby is here the team will keep an eye on you for 28 days, with visits, phone calls or by you phoning them if you need them. Baby blues is normal, and you will be referred to the health visitor and they can give you more visits if you need them. It’s individual for you.

If you are worried about your mental health ask your midwife for a in-person double appointment so you have time to talk about it and you won’t be rushed.

Ruth is one of the founders of the Smile group-  This group supports women and their families suffering with postnatal depression.

11 years ago, Ruth had a difficult pregnancy with complications and was eventually diagnosed with PDSD. She was prepared for birth with a plan, she had support and she was expecting a rush of love when she met her baby, but she didn’t feel that. She started to feel that something was wrong with her, she felt anxious but when asked she lied and said to everyone she felt fine.

She worked for social care and she still worried that if she told someone how she really felt that her baby would be taken away from her. This is not the case, social care want babies and families to stay together. She was burnt out due to postnatal depression.

When her baby was 10 weeks old she was having very negative life-ending thoughts. She went to talk to her GP who had time for her. She listened and didn’t rush her. Ruth found that she wanted to talk to other mums in the same situation about how they felt but there wasn’t a support group.

She formed the Smile group when Amber was 12 months old. Now there are four groups that meet regularly and ran by a small team of mums that have all experienced postnatal depression in some form. You can turn up but it’s best to get in touch first. It’s a free group that at the moment are meeting for walks around the area of Macclesfield, Congleton and Sandbach.

Ruth feels that if she had someone to talk to her story would be very different. And with her 2nd baby things were different, she had a plan in place if she needed it and she had more support.

If you have low mood, baby blues or signs of depression please talk to your health visitor, midwife, GP or get in touch with the Smile team. If you need to talk to a councillor this is currently being done on zoom but 1-1 home visits are also available.

I spoke to Heather next who is a mental health, health visitor. Health visitors support you from day 1 till your child gets passed to the school team at aged 4. She works with other support workers such as the Smile team.

Everyone receives universal support in pregnancy and postnatally but there is also targeted support for ladies with a mental health issue.  This support is individual to you and what you need.

Anything to do with your child’s health and wellbeing you can ask your health visitor for help, advice and support. They are there to support you. You can call them or ask questions when you take your baby to be weighed.

Top five things to help with your mental health:

1, Connect with others

2, Be active

3, Learn a new skill

4, Mindfulness

5, Giving something back

Some or all of these things can help you feel more positive, but you don’t have to do all of them at once!

ICON is all about infants crying and how to cope with that.

Lullaby trust has lots of information about safe sleeping.

Most of all please know that there is support for you if you need to, ask for help.

Homebirth team-

Lorna- Ask your midwife

Smile Team-


The next meeting is on the 26th of May and we will be talking about c-sections.