Looking after yourself

Maternity: after your baby is born

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is very important. It's very common for new parents to feel tired, overwhelmed and anxious.

Mental health problems during pregnancy or after having a baby are common. If you are concerned about your mental wellbeing, or your partner’s, speak to your midwife or get support.

It's very common to feel low, tearful, irritable and anxious. This is known as ‘baby blues’ and this can last for a few days or a few weeks. You might also find it hard to connect to the baby or yourself.  This is because of the major hormonal shift that happens in your brain and body after having a baby, as well as your birth experience, recovery and lack of sleep. 

Around 1 in 8 develop postnatal depression or anxiety (and 1 in 10 birthing partners develop postnatal depression). This can feel similar to the baby blues, however feelings can become more intense and last longer. You may feel significantly low, anxious or numb. You might have obsessional thoughts, panic attacks and feelings of inadequacy. This can affect many aspects of your day-to-day life.

You are doing nothing wrong by feeling this way. Please let us know how you are feeling so we can support you.

Postpartum psychosis is a rare but serious mental health illness that can affect new mothers. Find more information about postpartum psychosis on the NHS website.

Support for mental health and emotional wellbeing

If you have concerns about your mental health you can:

  • speak to your midwife or GP, or attend your local hospital
  • refer yourself to your local NHS talking therapies
  • contact Crisis at any time. If you live in Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark or Croydon, you can call 0800 731 2864

You could also:

  • tell someone how you feel: a loved one or friend, and your midwife, health visitor or GP
  • join the online Mental Health and Wellbeing Session at St Thomas’. You can access this up to 4 weeks after birthattend support groups: PANDAs for free postnatal support and counselling, MIND for mental health support and advice, or Make Birth Better for birth trauma support
  • speak to your GP about medicine options. Many can be taken while breastfeeding and can help while your hormone levels are stabilising
  • get a referral to your local perinatal mental health team for up to a year after having a baby. They provide specialist support including from psychiatrists, psychologists, and nurses. They can even see you at home and speak with you very regularly

More information

The NHS website has information about feeling depressed after childbirth.

Mind also has resources about a range of perinatal and postnatal mental health problems 

Online support for dads and partners with anxiety or depression can be found on PANDAS and Dads Matter UK.

Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) charity has information about PP and ways to get support


The Institute of Health Visiting has some useful tips for looking after your relationship as new parents.

Pregnancy and parenthood can make existing problems in relationships worse. Domestic abuse is not only physical violence. It includes controlling and coercive behaviours, and emotional abuse. To get help or information, visit the NHS website.

Money and finances

The NHS website has lots of information about your rights to leave and financial support.

Parenting advice

We run parenting skills workshops for new parents.

Home-Start supports families with a range of challenges including money issues, disability, mental health, relationship problems or multiple births. 


The Lullaby Trust offers safer sleep advice with simple steps on how to reduce the risk of cot death.

Advice for looking after yourself

  • Try to take the pressure off and give yourself credit for what you are accomplishing
  • Ask for help and support where you can, such as support with childcare, the school run, cooking, cleaning and watching baby
  • Try to rest where you can. Even short naps can help with mental health
  • Try to do something just for you, such as a bath, a walk, listening to a podcast, a coffee with a friend, watching your favourite show.
  • Try to get out and about when you’re ready. You can use Happity to find groups and events in your local area. Make the most of your local Children’s Centres too
  • Try to meet other new parents in the same stage of life as you, shared connections and experiences can really help
  • Remember there is a lot of support available. You are not in this alone

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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