Will my baby be taken away from me?

Often women are reluctant to share concerns about how they are feeling or if they are experiencing distressing thoughts, as they worry that this could be perceived that they are a 'bad mother' or 'unable to cope'. In particular, some women fear that if they disclose these feelings their baby might be taken away from them into care. There is a lot of stigma linked to mental illness, and this can make it difficult for women to talk about their feelings and admit that they are struggling to cope. Remember that feeling emotionally unwell is common and it is nothing to feel embarrassed about.

Midwives, health visitors and GPs will always try to ensure that the children of any women they care for are safe and secure. Obtaining timely and effective treatment and support for a mental health problem will give families the best outcomes and talking to your midwife or GP about any concerns you might have about your mental health early in your pregnancy is important.

Women who have a history of severe mental illness are at a higher risk of relapse and in a few cases a severe postpartum illness (please see PP section) Women who develop a severe postpartum illness can become so unwell that they are unable to care for their baby by themselves. A care plan would then be put in place to support the woman and her family. It is really important to remember that severe postnatal mental illness is rare and with support most women recover completely and enjoy their relationships with their babies.

Talking to your midwife, GP or health visitor is the first step to helping you feel better and get the support from those around you.