Post natal illness can effect 1 in 5 women within the first year of giving birth, some women begin to experience symptoms while they are still pregnant. There is no definitive cause for post natal illness and there is a range of severity of the illnesses women can suffer with, from mild symptoms to severe feelings of depression and anxiety. These feelings can come on suddenly or they can be a gradual process over several months, and it can be a few months after you give birth that any symptoms could show at all.

The cause of post natal illness is not known, and it can affect any new mother, it is understandable that personal circumstances can contribute to the onset or worsening of this illness. Women can become overwhelmed with becoming a parent, and the stress of sleepless nights and daily pressures can be a factor. Birth trauma can also have an impact on the mental wellbeing, when women have suffered severe trauma & fear during childbirth, which may lead to some women also suffering with PTSD. Each individual will suffer in a different way, become ill through a different cause, and respond to a different solution. It is important to remember, this is not permanent and your feelings are natural, and you can overcome this illness. 

If you think you are suffering from post natal depression speak to your GP, health visitor or midwife who may be able to offer support and guidance on options available to you.

Common symptoms of post natal depression collected from the NHS website are:

  • a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
  • loss of interest in the world around you and no longer enjoying things that used to give you pleasure
  • lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
  • feeling that you're unable to look after your baby
  • problems concentrating and making decisions
  • loss of appetite or an increased appetite (comfort eating)
  • feeling agitated, irritable or very apathetic (you "can't be bothered")
  • feelings of guilt, hopelessness and self-blame
  • difficulty bonding with your baby with a feeling of indifference and no sense of enjoyment in his or her company
  • frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby; these can be scary, but they're very rarely acted upon
  • thinking about suicide and self-harm

There is support in Torbay, useful contacts for post natal depression & anxiety will be in the contacts section. Allow Mothers first to support you in finding and accessing support from specialists, and offer you our services in a practical context and one to one support through our post natal program.

Birth Trauma and Post Natal PTSD

Birth Trauma does not necessarily have to be a life threatening event, it can also be triggered by loss of control, loss of dignity, hostile attitudes of people around you, intense fear, not being listened to and the absence of informed consent to medical procedures, and not enough understanding or information to make an informed choice.

Factors which may contribute to birth trauma, can be a mixture of events, a very long & painful labour, being induced which can often lead to more medical interventions and the baby needing additional care after its born.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, contact your GP, Health visitor or Midwife:

  • experiencing flashbacks re-living aspects of trauma
  • intrusive thoughts & images
  • nightmares
  • intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma
  • physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea or trembling
  • Alertness or feeling on edge
  • extreme alertness
  • disturbed sleep or lack of sleep