After you've had your baby

Your mental health

If you have hallucinations, delusions or mania after giving birth, you should be referred to a specialist service for immediate assessment (within 4 hours).

If you had a mental health problem when you were pregnant, or there is a risk you could develop one, your doctor should arrange for you to be seen regularly in the first few weeks after the birth.

You should have the support you need to feel well and cope with the demands of looking after yourself and your family. If there is a risk you could harm yourself, healthcare professionals should advise you, your partner and your family to ask for more help if you need it.

If you have a severe mental illness (for example, psychosis, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder), they should advise you about starting, restarting or changing medication. The medication you are offered will depend on your condition and whether you would like to breastfeed. See more information about medication for more details about risks.

Breastfeeding

Healthcare professionals should encourage you to breastfeed if you can. They should discuss breastfeeding with you and tell you about treatments you could take if you decide to breastfeed. (See more information about medication)

You may find breastfeeding straightforward. But if you can't breastfeed because you need to take particular types of medication or you find breastfeeding too difficult or stressful, you should be supported and should not be made to feel guilty about this.

Your baby's health

If you took medication for a mental health problem when you were pregnant, your baby should be checked after birth for any effects. Some side effects are mild and get better by themselves. Some medication can cause problems for unborn babies if taken in the first 3 months of pregnancy. If you've taken this medication in early pregnancy, you should have extra scans during pregnancy and doctors should know which problems to look out for in your baby. Your baby will also need extra checks if you've had alcohol or drug problems in pregnancy.

If you are breastfeeding and are taking medication for a mental health problem, your baby should be checked regularly for any side effects.

Your relationship with your baby

If you have or develop a mental health problem you may worry that this will affect your relationship with your baby. If it does, this usually improves with treatment of the mental health problem. Women who continue to have difficulties should be offered support to help with this.

  • Information Standard