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Thousands of Mothers Not Receiving Treatment For Postnatal Mental Health Problems

By Associate, Medical Negligence

A new report has revealed that only seven per cent of women with mental health problems during pregnancy and after childbirth receive the specialist treatment they need.

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The study by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said: “Sometimes women were told that they were just experiencing ‘baby blues’ and to wait and see whether they would feel better. Others explained how they had to ask several times for support, and then had to go on medication for a trial time, or attend group courses, before they were given the tailored support that they felt would help them to recover.”

Mental health is of paramount importance during and after pregnancy, and ought to be treated as seriously as any physical concerns by medical professionals.

I am currently instructed by the family of a young mother who suffered a tragic and untimely death despite her efforts to seek the care and medical support that she needed. The inquest into Rachel Morgan’s case highlighted several failings and missed opportunities on the part of doctors to provide the help she had actively been seeking. For more information, please see my previous blog: Mum Tragically Dies Due to Mental Health Care Failings

The findings of the RCOG’s study shed light on the number of vulnerable women who are not receiving the help that they need, but also those who have made efforts to get help and support to which they are entitled but have not received.

The study found that 81 per cent of women said they experienced at least one episode of a mental health problem during or after pregnancy. Only 19 per cent were referred for any form of help.

 

 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems during pregnancy, with around 12 per cent of women experiencing depression and 13 per cent experiencing anxiety at some point. Many women experience both. Postpartum psychosis affects between one and two in 1,000 women following childbirth. NICE states that women with bipolar I disorder are at particular risk, but postpartum psychosis can occur in women with no previous psychiatric history.

Mental health is of paramount importance during and after pregnancy, and ought to be treated as seriously as any physical concerns by medical professionals.

If you or someone you know has been affected by postpartum psychosis, you can find more information on the Action on Postpartum Psychosis website

 

Zak Golombeck is an associate, specialising in medical negligence claims at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.

The clinical negligence solicitors at Slater and Gordon specialise in claims against the NHS, GPs, private doctors and hospitals arising out of negligent medical treatment and acts on behalf of injured victims. If you’ve been affected, and need legal advice, please contact one of our medical negligence specialists.

For a free consultation about a clinical or medical negligence compensation claim call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and we will call you.

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