Mental health checks should be carried out for every woman during their pregnancy, according to a leading Northamptonshire charity.
Executive director of NorPIP, Anna Day, spoke at an event today at the House of Commons as part of a national campaign to promote mental health issues during pregnancy.
The charity has linked up with campaigner and consultant obstetrician, Raja Gangopadhyay, to raise the issues at the highest level. Fifteen percent of new mothers will experience mental health issues for the first time in pregnancy.
"This is why are calling upon all health professionals to do a mental health check during pregnancy to ensure that we can safeguard the wellbeing of mums across the country and their babies," Ms Day explained.
"The incredibly huge human cost of not intervening is massive, with neglect, maltreatment and poor health outcomes for children attached to when mum has had a maternal mental health issue," she added.
Parents, campaigners, MPs and a range of organisations supporting families got together in London today.
Ms Day added: “It’s time we recognise the importance of maternal mental wellbeing, and the fact that relapse rates are so ridiculously high around the perinatal period for mums with past experience of mental health issues.
"The good news is with the right wrap around care and support, this relapse or the emergence of new mental health issues can be better prevented or treated.”
NorPIP has been funded nearly half a million pounds over the next three years by the Big Lottery Fund to provide support to mums, along with partners Family Action and Engage Antenatal who are struggling with their mental health issues during pregnancy to support them to bond with their babies, as well as access specialist therapists and perinatal support from specially trained peer support volunteers.