More than 1,700

women told us their experiences about having a baby and the impact on their mental health and the support they received.


Make more space for new parents to talk about their mental health

In our new report, we share what parents have told us about their experiences of mental health problems before, during and after pregnancy, and call on services to give people more opportunities to talk about their mental wellbeing.

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“I would have wanted someone to ask me specifically about my mental health - no one did and as a result I suffered silently for months and months before reaching breaking point.”

Baby sleeping

Three common issues people shared

Analysis of the stories women shared highlighted the need to provide more opportunities for new parents and health professionals to talk about mental health during the journey to parenthood. 

  • People feel their mental health problems are triggered by a variety of issues
  • People don’t know where to turn for help
  • People feel scared about how people will respond if they speak up

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When asked how easy it was to get support for their mental health, nearly half of women said they found the process 'difficult' or 'very difficult'.

Picture of a baby sleeping

"Everybody wants to hold the baby, but who holds the mum?"

As well as a difficult pregnancy, Kristy felt pressure both to breastfeed and to produce 'the perfect family'.

Thanks to the support from her husband and home birth midwives, Kristy sought the help she needed for her mental health. Listen to her story.

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A local perspective

These stories were gathered through a variety of methods, from online surveys to more detailed fieldwork carried out by Healthwatch in seven areas of England who spoke to nearly 800 people through focus groups and visits to services.

Find out what people told us by reading our local reports.

My mental health has been really well supported during and after my pregnancy. I feel incredibly lucky to have received such excellent support from all professionals involved.

What people told us