Mental Health

If you already struggle with your mental health or are receiving treatment for a diagnosed mental health disorder, pregnancy can be a worrying time. Our maternity teams can help guide you through a safe and healthy pregnancy.

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Having a healthy pregnancy if you struggle with your mental health

If you have existing mental health issues, pregnancy can sometimes make them worse.

This is particularly true if you have:

If you take medication to manage a mental health disorder, you may also be worried about whether the medication is safe to take during pregnancy.

Medication and pregnancy

If you are taking medication for a mental health disorder, it’s important to tell your doctor as soon as you find out you’re pregnant or decide you want to get pregnant.

Your doctor will talk to you about any prescription medications you are taking and your options.

These may include:

  • taking prescribed medications if you are not already taking any
  • carrying on with your current medication
  • changing your medication to something with a lower risk of side effects for you and your baby
  • stopping your medication slowly
  • using other treatments instead of medication, e.g. talking therapy.

Mental health services

There are a range of services available to help support your mental health during pregnancy.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Sussex Partnership is the mental health provider for people in Sussex. They provide community-based services for people who are experiencing, or who have previously experienced, severe mental health difficulties during pregnancy or up to a year after birth.

You will need to be referred by a health professional. This includes midwives, health visitors, GPs, hospital-based teams, children’s centre and social workers, child and adolescent mental health services, adult mental health workers, assessment and treatment teams, crisis teams and all primary and secondary approved mental health professionals. If you are concerned about your own mental health or that of a friend or family member, please talk to one of these professionals about making a referral.

How we are helping people in Sussex have safe pregnancies and healthy babies

What we are doing

When it comes to helping people manage their mental health in pregnancy, here are the things we’re doing:

  • Expanding perinatal and maternal mental health services (extending the Perinatal Mental Health (PNMH) specialist service to 24 months and including non-birthing parents and families
  • Implementing the Long Term Plan perinatal mental health service to capture more maternity service users
  • Wrapping a network of care around birthing people to proactively manage and support their wellbeing – through maternal medicine networks, perinatal mental health, social support and encouraging healthy behaviours
  • Using ethnicity and deprivation data to address the mental health needs of underserved communities
  • Work with local authorities to identify scope to develop a perinatal mental health peer support service to widen access to maternal mental health services among at-risk groups
  • Considering how we can widen access to mental health support for young birthing people who have a 30% higher risk of perinatal mental health issues

What you can do

Don’t let things get so bad you put yourself and your baby at risk.

Talk to your midwife, who can put you in touch with mental health support services.

  • Do the things you know help. It’s more important than ever that you take care of your physical health to support your mental health. Do the things you know make a difference, whether that’s regular, gentle exercise, talking to friends, socialising or just tidying your home.
  • Visit for information about managing your mental health during pregnancy. From wellbeing tips to answers to common questions about mental health in pregnancy, Tommy’s is a great resource.
  • Connect with other pregnant people. A strong network can be a great place to ask questions, seek reassurance and share a common experience.
  • If the fear of the unknown is causing you anxiety, find the information that will give you peace of mind. Understanding what to expect from the birth and how to care for your new arrival can help you feel more prepared.

Sussex Equity & Equality Programme

We are changing our services to improve Perinatal Equity and Equality in Sussex.

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