Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week: Looking After Your Wellbeing And Accessing Support

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from May 1st to May 7th. It’s a weeklong campaign of awareness and conversation around the mental health problems women can experience before, during and after pregnancy. Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week helps to raise awareness and advocate for women affected by the issues, as well as helping people to access the support they need.




Who Organises Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week?


This week is organised and led by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK. The first campaign was launched in 2014. PMHP UK includes parents who have experienced mental illness, and clinicians. The theme for 2023 is ‘Together In A Changing World’. There are daily themes during the week as well:

  • Monday – Starting the conversation about perinatal mental health
  • Tuesday – Shining the spotlight on support
  • Wednesday – World Maternal Mental Health Day #StrongerTogether
  • Thursday – Healthcare professionals’ hub to support healing
  • Friday – Perinatal positivity pot
  • Saturday – Support for all families
  • Sunday – Recap and reflect


How Does Pregnancy Affect Mental Health And Wellbeing?


Pregnancy is exciting, but it can also be very challenging and emotional. Worries and fears are normal during pregnancy, but they can become overwhelming. In some cases, the normal stresses and worries of pregnancy can develop into a mental health condition.

In some cases, pregnancy can lead to depression, PTSD and anxiety. As many as 1 in 5 women have mental health problems in pregnancy or after birth. These conditions can develop at any time, even if it is not your first pregnancy.

There are some factors that can particularly affect how your mental health is shaped during and after pregnancy, including:

  • Previous mental illnesses which may mean you’re at higher risk
  • Your feelings about your pregnancy, whether you are or are not happy about being pregnant
  • Recent stressful events such as relationship, financial worries or the death of a loved one
  • Upsetting memories about childhood difficulties


Mental health issues can affect anyone, and it can be extremely overwhelming, but it is not something to be ashamed of.


When To Seek Help?


You can seek help whenever you feel that you need to. You are the best judge of whether what you are feeling and experiencing is normal for you, and if you are struggling to cope.

However, if you are unsure, there can be some signs that it’s time to seek help from a mental health professional, your midwife or your GP:

  • If you’ve felt consistently worried, sad, or upset and things aren’t improving
  • If your negative thoughts and feelings mean that you can’t function
  • If you feel that you have no interest in things, feel hopeless, or that you’re unable to cope
  • If you experience panic attacks or develop obsessive behaviours
  • If you feel anxious or worried most, or all of the time


How To Manage Mental Health Wellbeing During Pregnancy?


There are some tips to help you manage your mental health during your pregnancy.

  1. Don’t place unrealistic expectations on yourself. It’s okay to be realistic about what you can do, and make sure that you rest when you need to.
  2. Spend time with friends or family if they can help you feel good about yourself.
  3. Engage in gentle exercise regularly. It can help to keep active and occupied, but always talk to your doctor or midwife before starting a new exercise regime.
  4. Look for support groups, or others who have had similar experiences.
  5. Eat regularly and try to incorporate as many healthy foods into your diet as you can.
  6. Try calming breathing exercises if you feel overwhelmed.
  7. Consider avoiding making major life changes. Pregnancy by itself is a major life change, adding more changes can add more stress than you can cope with. Changing jobs or moving home should be avoided during your pregnancy if possible.
  8. Accept help when it’s offered. If you need help, reach out for it.


Where To Go For Support?


If you need support, you can talk to your partner or another trusted person in your life. There are support groups too, so look for one in your local area. You can also talk to your doctor, midwife, or if your GP practice has a mental health practitioner, speak to them, and ask for help, support, or treatment.

You can visit these websites to learn more about services and support available:


Maternal Mental Health Alliance