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Fantastic New NICE guidelines for mental health during pregnancy

(1 Post)
RedToothBrush Wed 17-Dec-14 08:50:57

NICE said the impact on families of mental health problems during and after pregnancy can be long-lasting.

As well as anxiety and depression, there is an increased risk of psychosis in the weeks after giving birth and others may experience obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, tokophobia (an extreme fear of childbirth) and eating disorders.

NICE said that although such problems responded well to treatment, they frequently went unrecognised and untreated.

Under its recommendations, which update the last advice given in 2007:

- Counselling on the potential implications of pregnancy should be given to all women of childbearing age who have a new, existing or past mental health problem

- In early pregnancy, mental health and wellbeing should be talked about at the first booking in appointment as well as specific questions to identify depression

- For any woman with a mental health problem during or after pregnancy, there should be an integrated care plan in place that sets out the treatment and which health professionals are responsible for care

- The guidelines also advise on the most appropriate drugs and treatments that can be offered safely during pregnancy and breastfeeding and supporting women in weighing up the pros and cons

- Women and their partners who have experienced a traumatic event such as a very difficult birth should be offered extra support

- And there are clear recommendations about what should be offered to mothers who have suffered a miscarriage or whose baby is stillborn

These all back up women who are struggling with various anxieties over childbirth and existing NICE guidance about respecting women's choice and it firmly acknowledges they are being unrecognised and under treated.

For me the 'counselling for the potential implications of pregnancy should be given to all women of childbearing age' is a particularly good one on a personal level, because its pretty much the first time in black and white that there is anything that applies to women who are not currently pregnant and don't already have children. (And something I've identified as lacking a care plan and within guidance)

Of course, there sadly are just are not the services to back up this guidance, but it does ramp up the pressure to develop peri-natal mental health strategy which so many authorities lack completely. It also provides yet another string to the bow, of those arguing their cases.

Its a BIG step along a LONG road. But at least its one in the right direction.

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