The frequency with which women are currently asked about their emotional and mental health
Maggie Redshaw (NPEU (Former member))
Jane Henderson (NPEU (Former member))
Mental health and wellbeing
Department of Health
Identifying mental health problems during and after pregnancy is well recognised as an important aspect of maternity care.Questions about the extent to which women were asked about their emotional and mental health, family history and how any mental health needs at this time were addressed were included in the 2014 National Maternity Survey (NMS) data collection. The aim of the study is to address the question: with what frequency were women in 2014 asked about their emotional and mental health during pregnancy and postnatally?
Most women were asked about their emotional and mental health in pregnancy (82%) and in the postnatal period (90%).
However, antenatally, Asian and older women were less likely to be asked and to be offered treatment. In the postnatal period, differences were more marked. Non-white women, those living in more deprived areas, and those who had received less education were less likely to be asked about their mental health, to be offered treatment, and to receive support.
Maternal mental health, both before and following childbirth is an important individual and policy relevant issue. Those women most likely to be in need of support and treatment are least likely to be offered it. A further paper on outcomes for women with mental health problems at three months postpartum has been submitted for publication.