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Maternal and Family Mental Health

Having a new baby is a life changing event and can be a confusing and unsettling time, as well as a happy and exciting one.   You may find you have mixed emotions about your pregnancy or baby and this is completely normal, however if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms it is important that you speak to your Health Visitor or your GP:

  • Tearfulness
  • Being irritable/arguing more often
  • Lack of concentration
  • Changes in appetite
  • Problems sleeping or extreme energy
  • Racing thoughts
  • Feeling more anxious or overwhelmed
  • Lack of interest in usual things

Some women can also have:

  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Strict rituals and obsessions
  • Lack of feelings for their baby.

Having a baby can also put a strain on other relationships such as between you as parents, or relationships with other children in the family who are also adapting to the changes a new baby brings.

As part of our health visiting offer, we can support you with your maternal mental health, so that you feel able to care for yourself and your baby.  Mental health can sometimes feel difficult to talk about and we know that many parents don’t feel able to talk about how they might really be feeling because they are worried about what other people may think. However it is really important that you share these feelings with someone so that you can get the help and support that you need.

We have a specialist health visitor team for maternal and infant mental health who can provide support for families in the perinatal period (pregnancy to one year) and up to 5 years, who are experiencing mental health challenges.  Your health visitor will be able to refer you to this team if appropriate.  We work closely with the following agencies and can support you to access them if needed:

  • Specialist perinatal mental health team
  • Bucks talking therapies
  • Maternal mental health service

We also run a postnatal wellbeing support group in collaboration with Bucks talking therapies which offers support and treatment for postnatal women with low mood and/or anxiety.
The postnatal wellbeing group is a ten-week programme which teaches women skills in monitoring and managing their mood, ways to challenge negative thinking and includes a session on children’s attachment needs. A separate psycho-education session is included for partners about living with a partner with mental health needs. The group promotes a friendly and supportive environment. A valuable element of the group is the peer support that group members offer and receive from one another.

You can self-refer to the Postnatal wellbeing group through Bucks Talking therapies, or your GP or any health professional can refer you, this would then allow you to be assessed by a practitioner working for Bucks Talking therapies to see if the group offers the right support for you. If not, then Bucks talking therapies would be able to discuss other suitable options with you.

There is also local community support available to you,. The Buckinghamshire Family Information Service website has more information around this.

Other useful information:


This page was last reviewed on 30-11-2023

This page will be next reviewed on 30-11-2026