The Perinatal Period
Perinatal is the period of time when you become pregnant and up to a year after giving birth. You might also have heard of the following terms:
- Antenatal or pre-natal meaning ‘before birth’
- Postnatal or postpartum meaning ‘after birth’
Many people experience low mood during major life events, and this is certainly true of the perinatal period. There is a lot of uncertainty when you are expecting a baby, which can understandably lead to increased worry. Once the baby arrives, your daily routines and sleeping patterns change drastically, which can put an added strain on your wellbeing.
If you have good wellbeing and a balanced mood, you are more likely to have the energy to be the type of parent you want to be.
A useful way to remember this is to think of aircraft safety procedures – you are advised to secure your own oxygen mask, before helping your child with theirs. If you don’t look after yourself, then you won’t be capable of caring for others.
No parent is relaxed, calm, and happy all the time. Parenting is full of unavoidable challenges, uncertainties and difficult emotions.
The key to being generally satisfied as a parent is to work on becoming realistic and resilient over time. It can be helpful to look back over the modules and identify strategies that worked for both you and your baby.
People often talk about the many positive emotions they experience during pregnancy and the first year of being a parent. What people rarely talk about, however, are the emotional difficulties they experience, despite these being just as common. This can lead you to believe that you are alone in feeling anxious, worried or down, when in fact it is normal and completely understandable during this time.
Depression and anxiety disorders are the most common issues at this time, but obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), tokophobia (extreme fear of giving birth) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also occur.
During the perinatal period around 20% of women and at least 8% of men will develop a mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety.
Spending large amounts of time alone with your baby can make you feel isolated and lonely. Sometimes you might need a hug, or someone to listen and understand what you’re going through.
One of the most important parts of staying well is to stay in touch with how you are feeling. This includes knowing what triggers your low mood or anxiety and recognising your warning signs.
We have partnered with Silvercloud to offer you free access to a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) self-help programme, designed by clinical experts using proven methods for helping people, all with the aim of empowering you to think and feel better.
This programme is based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
CBT consists of two key steps to feeling well:
- Understanding what’s going on inside you
- Making changes to feel better
The key idea behind CBT is that your emotions, thoughts, behaviours and physical sensations are connected, and affect each other.
Simply choose your programme on SilverCloud. When prompted to sign up, you will need an access code to enable you to create your account and use this resource. The access code is kwnelselfhelp