COVID-19 Update - 21.04.20
We're posting the most recent updates from The RCOG and Royal College of Midwives, and following threads from mums commenting online.
We like to pick out a question, posted on their site, with each updated post and this time it's regarding mental health.
Q. How can I protect my mental wellbeing during the pandemic?
We understand that the coronavirus pandemic will inevitably result in an increased amount of anxiety in the general population, and this is likely to be even more so for pregnant women as pregnancy represents an additional period of uncertainty.
Specifically, these anxieties are likely to revolve around:
The virus itself
The impact of social isolation resulting in reduced support from wider family and friends
The potential of reduced household finances
Major changes in antenatal and other NHS care, including appointments being changed from face-to- face to telephone contact.
Isolation, bereavement, financial difficulties, insecurity and inability to access support systems are all widely recognised risk factors for mental ill-health. The coronavirus epidemic also increases the risk of domestic violence.
You should be asked about your mental health at every contact with a health professional. By acknowledging these difficulties, healthcare professionals can help to contain some of these anxieties. If you require support, you should be signposted to resources which can be remotely provided, where possible. If you are experiencing domestic violence, please disclose this to a health professional who can provide information and support to keep you safe.
Where necessary, women in England can self-refer to local IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services. In Scotland, advice is available from Parentclub and NHS Inform.
Further information from the following organisations:
Public Health England – COVID-19: guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing
NHS – Every Mind Matters
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Maternal Mental Health Alliance
Read to full guidance HERE
The Royal College of Psychiatrists have also published advice for healthcare professionals who are supporting the mental health needs of pregnant and postnatal women, as well as other vulnerable people.
"Episodes of mental illness during pregnancy are common and effect up to 1 in 5 pregnant women. Mental illness covers a full range of symptoms from mild anxiety and depression to severe mood disorders and psychosis. Episodes of illness are more likely to be precipitated by periods of social stress. Social isolation and the current national situation is clearly stressful and is likely to result in an increased rate of episodes of mental illness."
For information on maternal mental health, including post partum psychosis, please take a look at their website. HERE