What is perinatal mental illness?

Perinatal mental health (PMH) problems are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child. Peri is the Greek for “around”, and natal from the Latin word ‘natus’ for “birth”.

10-20% of women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or the first year after having a baby.1

They include a wide range of conditions. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems in pregnancy.

If left untreated, mental health issues can have significant and long-lasting effects on the woman, the child, and the wider family.

Perinatal mental illness also affects fathers with up to 5-10% of fathers reported to suffer from depression during their partner’s pregnancy and following birth, and 5-15% suffer from anxiety in the perinatal period.2,3

Further information

Visit other related pages in this section of the hub:

Training for healthcare professionals:

Watch Jo’s story about perinatal mental illness

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Understanding Perinatal Mental Illness for Healthcare Professionals

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