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Support is being offered to women and families across the region to help with their mental health and wellbeing during pregnancy and after the birth of a child.

Humber Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership’s specialist perinatal mental health team, covering Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, and North East Lincolnshire, is re-launching the Every Mum Matters campaign which offers guidance and signposting for further help.

The campaign aims to support new and expectant mums and their families to be able to recognise symptoms of perinatal mental health problems early and encourage them to seek help quickly.

Perinatal mental health issues (those which occur during pregnancy or during the baby’s first year) affect one-in-five women, but with the right support and interventions many issues are treatable. Recognising the signs early and seeking support quickly improves recovery and outcomes for mums and their babies.

The campaign recognises that having a baby is a major life event for mums and partners and it is common to experience a range of emotions during and after pregnancy. Health professionals say that when feelings start to have an impact on day-to-day life, it is time to talk to someone.

The Every Mum Matters website aims to raise awareness of perinatal mental health problems, start conversations, reduce stigma and encourage women to come forward to get help.

Emma Tomlinson, Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Nurse said: “The campaign focuses on supporting and empowering expectant and new mums to recognise and seek support for their mental health within this perinatal period.

We aim to support women who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health in pregnancy and post-birth. It can be a scary time for mums and can evoke anxiety and impact on mood. If this is recognised early on, support can be put into place to help towards a successful recovery.”

Covid-19 has also had a significant impact on pregnant women and new mums, who have dealt with changes to maternity services, reduced face-to-face appointments and a decrease in family support due to restrictions and lockdowns.

The specialist perinatal mental health team have seen an increase in referrals for women who are experiencing high levels of anxiety as a direct result of these measures, as well as heightened fears of having to birth without their partner being present.

The service quickly recognised the importance of being able to continue to provide face to face support and interventions for the women accessing the service, as the quality of patient care would have been adversely affected by offering only virtual appointments. This has enabled the team to continue to offer high level care resulting in positive outcomes for many women and families.

The specialist perinatal mental health team encourages pregnant women and new mums struggling with their mental health during this time, to speak to their midwife, health visitor, GP or other professional involved in their care who can refer them to the most appropriate service.

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