Why mums need a Well Being Plan

Today’s guest blog is from Emma Laing a midwife at the charity Tommy’s. To mark the launch of the ground-breaking new report on Mums Maternal Mental health she talks about how we need to raise awareness of ante and postnatal depression and find a way to talk about it more with mums – introducing the idea of a Well-Being Plan.


There’s no doubt that mums-to-be are under greater pressure than ever to have the Emma Laing - Tommys‘perfect’ pregnancy. Whether it’s images of celebrities blooming in revealing dresses, or talk of losing the baby weight before we’ve even got to the delivery suite, pregnancy is celebrated and scrutinised in equal measure. The pressure thrive can make it very hard for women to speak out when they feel low, anxious or depressed.

Mental health problems – such as depression and anxiety during pregnancy, or after birth – affect up to 1 in 7 mums. When left untreated in pregnancy it increases the risk of developing postnatal depression, and can also have health consequences for the baby.

Our research showed that very few women can recall being asked about their mental health in appointments. On the other side of the coin, the majority of health professionals felt that women didn’t talk about their mental health enough in comparison to their physical health.

So what’s going on? Our research showed that the stigma around mental health runs deep. Only one fifth of women said that they had been completely honest with their midwife or health visitor about their emotional wellbeing. Other reasons for hiding how they felt included lack of recognition about what they were experiencing, but also lack of time with midwives, lack of continuity of care, or because women were afraid that their baby might be taken away from them.

As a midwife, I often find that women are unaware of what symptoms to look out for and can too easily think depression and anxiety are down to hormonal changes or the baby blues. The research showed that women experienced similar symptoms – 8 in 10 had low mood, 8 in 10 experienced tearfulness and half experienced anger. When your everyday life is being disrupted, maybe you’re not sleeping or there’s a significant change in your eating habits, you should speak to a midwife or health visitor.

We all know that such discussions can be nerve-racking but you’ll feel a huge sense of relief knowing that you are doing something positive for you and your baby. That’s why we’ve produced a new Wellbeing Plan, similar to a Birth Plan. This is a great tool to help women think about their feelings, plan any support they might want, and to start that discussion. The Wellbeing Plan is a great way of making sure there’s more emphasis on mental health in pregnancy.


Here at Tommy’s, I get lots of calls on our PregnancyLine from pregnant women who are feeling guilty that they are not as happy as they feel they should be.  I would say that things won’t always be perfect, and that all you can do is your best. If things get on top of you, remember that you are not the only one feeling this way. Feeling depressed and anxious is nothing to be ashamed about and no one should have to suffer in silence. Talking about how you feel is that all-important first step.


Find out more about the new Mums Maternal Mental Health report published today and funded by the Boots Family Trust with Tommy’s, Netmums, Royal College of Midwives and the Institute of Health Visiting.

You can find out more about and download a Well Being Plan here.

Read the most common myths and facts about PND.

All next week we will be featuring guest blogs from mums who share their own experiences of post natal depression and how it affected their lives. We hope you will pop by each day next week to read our guest blogs.

About The Netmums Blog

The Netmums Blog brings you a behind the scenes look at Netmums, as well as some fabulous guest bloggers and an up to date look at what's new on our Parent Bloggers Network.
This entry was posted in Babies, Busting the myths, campaign, depression, motherhood, Mums, post natal depression, POst Natal Depression Awareness Week, Pregnancy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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