Perinatal Mental Health

Perinatal Mental Health Film

Beautiful things are on the horizon
Real life experiences of perinatal mental health

Depression can start at any time during your pregnancy. This film charts the stories of three womens experiences in dealing with perinatal mental health.

Commissioned by NHS Kernow and Arts for Health Cornwall & Isles of Scilly


Your mental health in pregnancy

Depression and other mental health problems such as anxiety affect as many as 10-15 percent of all pregnant women.

If you're feeling low, or overwhelmed by the whole experience of pregnancy, then you're not alone. Postnatal depression may be better-known, but suffering from anxiety, depressive symptoms or stress during pregnancy is not uncommon.

Mental health problems in pregnant women are often left unrecognised and untreated. This matters for a woman, but also potentially for her baby. While the vast majority are not affected, a child's risk of emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties is slightly higher if a mother has suffered from severe stress, anxiety or depression in pregnancy.

Just as at any other time in your life, stress can be caused by a wide range of things, such as money problems, losing a job or the death of a friend or relative. But other causes are more specific to pregnancy. Women can become very anxious about the actual process of giving birth, or about whether the baby will be healthy.

Look after your mental health

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Stop drinking alcohol.
  • Stop smoking (ask your midwife or GP about 'stop smoking' services).
  • Find some time each week to do something which you enjoy, improves your mood or helps you to relax
  • Let family and friends help you with housework, shopping etc.
  • Exercise (ask your midwife about exercise in pregnancy and local exercise classes).
  • Discuss any worries you may have with your family, your midwife or GP.
  • Get regular sleep.

The Wellbeing Plan

The Wellbeing Plan is a way for you to start thinking about how you feel and what support you might need in your pregnancy and after the birth. It is something you can download and complete yourself or complete in conjunction with your midwife. It can help as a conversation starter if you want one, or it can remain personal to you. We suggest using it from the third trimester onwards.

Download the Wellbeing Plan.

The Wellbeing Plan has been endorsed by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

If you need extra support

In this section

Mood swings and pregnancy
Relationships and pregnancy

Am I at risk of developing mental health problems?

Antenatal depression

Postnatal depression

Postpartum psychosis

Bipolar disorder

Eating disorders

Where to get help

 maternal ocd


Maternal OCD is a voluntary organisation dedicated to raising the profile of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for mothers. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a debilitating anxiety disorder which strips women of their fundamental right to enjoy motherhood. Maternal OCD is co-founded by two mothers, Maria Bavetta and Diana Wilson, who have experienced and recovered from extreme OCD.

Maternal OCD Aims

We have three primary target audiences to ensure the relevant information is accessible at the right time for a sustainable recovery, pregnant women, new mothers and motherhood health professionals. We aim to:

  • Raise the profile of OCD amongst health professionals working with mothers to help identify this disorder more efficiently,

  • Raise the awareness of OCD for mothers-to-be to reduce the onset probability of OCD developing;

  • Provide easily accessible resources for mothers with OCD to enable them to recover more quickly.