Experiences of postnatal depression: survey results

A new survey of Mumsnet users has discovered that nearly one third of women who experienced postnatal depression did not seek professional healthcare advice. 

Over 80% of respondents were concerned their symptoms were not 'bad' enough to warrant medical help, and almost three quarters (74%) were worried that having a diagnosis would raise concerns about their ability to care for their child/children. When asked about the usefulness of various sources of emotional (rather than medical) support, 76% of those surveyed found Mumsnet useful.

The results also highlighted that 87% of those with experience of postnatal depression think there is a social stigma attached to PND - with 58% going as far as saying that this stigmatisation made it more difficult for them to seek help.

See the full survey results below.


Have you sought advice from a healthcare professional (such as a GP, health visitor, midwife or mental health team professional) for postnatal depression?

Answer options Response percent
Yes, I sought professional healthcare advice
 70%
No, I did not seek professional healthcare advice
 29%
Other
2%

 


If you did seek professional healthcare advice for your postnatal depression, please say to what extent - if at all - the following applied to you.

Answer options Yes definitely Yes to some extent No not at all Don't know / NA
I wasn't sure my symptoms were 'bad' enough to warrant getting medical help
 32%  38%  28%  3%
I worried that healthcare professionals would judge me
42%  33%  23%  2%
I felt guilty about using NHS resources  14%  27%  56%  3%
I was worried that having a diagnosis would raise concerns about my ability to care for my child/children
 54%  27%  17%  1%
I did not know that I was unwell (eg, you were prompted to seek medical advice by someone else)
17%  31%  49%  3%
I did not/do not feel that my symptoms would respond to medical treatment
18%  42%  31%  9%
I felt as though I was/would be 'letting my family down' by 'allowing' myself to get ill
44%  34%  18%  3%


If you did not seek professional healthcare advice, please say to what extent - if at all - the following explanations applied to you.

Answer options Yes definitely Yes to some extent No not at all Don't know / NA
I wasn't sure my symptoms were 'bad' enough to warrant getting medical help
 41%  39%  12%  8%
I worried that healthcare professionals would judge me
38%  36%  18%  8%
I felt guilty about using NHS resources  11%  22%  53%  14%
I was worried that having a diagnosis would raise concerns about my ability to care for my child/children
 48%  27%  18%  7%
I did not know that I was unwell (eg, you were prompted to seek medical advice by someone else)
18%  34%  36%  12%
I did not/do not feel that my symptoms would respond to medical treatment
15%  38%  24%  23%
I felt as though I was/would be 'letting my family down' by 'allowing' myself to get ill
42%  31%  18%  9%

 

Whether you sought professional healthcare advice or not, did you/do you think there is a social stigma attached to postnatal depression, and if so did/does it make it more difficult for you to seek help for your own depression?

Answer options Response percent
I think there is a stigma, and it made/makes it more difficult for me to seek help 58%
I think there is a stigma, but it did/does not make it more difficult for me to seek help 29%
I don't think there is a stigma attached to postnatal depression
10%
Don't know / not stated 3%
Other 1%


Please consider the following sources of emotional (rather than medical) support and advice during postnatal depression, and tell us how useful each of these is/was in your experience.

Answer options Very useful Quite useful No strong feelings Not very useful Not at all useful Don't know Didn't use
GP 23% 27% 13% 9% 8% 1% 19%
Community midwife 8% 13% 16% 11% 12% 3% 37%
Hospital midwife 2% 6% 16% 10% 14% 3% 48%
Other inpatient hospital staff 2% 4% 17% 8% 10% 3% 56%
Health visitor 17% 20% 12% 11% 16% 2% 21%
Community mental health team 11% 11% 12% 7% 6% 2% 50%
Other NHS staff 8% 12% 17% 6% 6% 3% 48%
Specialist non-NHS PND/mental health support websites, groups or phone helplines 11% 17% 13% 4% 5% 2% 47%
Personal friends 21% 37% 11% 10% 6% 1% 14%
Spouse/partner 34% 29% 9% 11% 9% 1% 6%
Wider family 17% 22% 16% 13% 11% 1% 19%
NHS Choices 1% 8% 20% 9% 7% 3% 52%
Non-specialist websites, social media or forums 9% 23% 19% 8% 4% 2% 35%
Mumsnet 19% 35% 13% 2% 1% 1% 29%
Non-specialist real-life groups 8% 16% 16% 7% 6% 1% 45%

 

Do you feel that any of the following contributed to your postnatal depression?

Answer options Yes No Don't know / NA Other
Pressure to be 'the perfect mother' 65% 29% 5% 0%
Pressure to bond with your baby and/or to feel overwhelming love for them 46% 48% 4% 1%
Pressure associated with caring responsibilities for people other than your baby 37% 56% 4% 1%
A bad or traumatic birth experience, either with this birth or previously 56% 38% 4% 1%
Miscarriage(s) and/or stillbirth(s) 15% 76% 5% 3%
Previous episodes of depression 46% 45% 7% 1%
Other people's expectations that you would breastfeed 29% 62% 6% 2%
Your own expectation to breastfeed 48% 46% 4% 1%
Difficulty establishing breastfeeding 48% 46% 4% 1%
Financial worries 35% 58% 4% 1%
Relationship difficulties 41% 54% 4% 1%
Being far away from family or friends 37% 55% 5% 2%
A difficult life event (such as bereavement) 26% 67% 4% 1%
Pain or ongoing health conditions (yours) 31% 62% 5% 1%

Survey of 631 female Mumsnet users who had given birth and experienced post natal depression. Conducted in October 2015.



mother on laptop
More info on postnatal depression Find postnatal support on Mumsnet Talk

 

Last updated: about 1 year ago