Doctors Are Ignoring New Mothers' Mental Health During Checkups

The issue of mental health isn't limited to just students; it's something that affects a ton of people. One group in particular that doesn't always get a lot of attention regarding mental health is new moms. They're trying to adjust to the many changes that come with being a first-time mom. There's also a ton of new stuff to try and learn while they're also trying to care for their newborn. It can take such a toll on anyone- but when you add "baby blues", postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis into the mix, things can go really wrong really fast.

Yet despite this, many new mothers in the United Kingdom aren't having their mental health issues addressed. This is according to a recent study conducted bythe NCT. It turns out that a sixth of new moms weren't given any time to discuss their own health with their doctor. Meanwhile, another 31 percent of women had just under three to talk about such concerns. One quarter of women who had a baby within the past two years were never asked about their mental or emotional health. All of these stats came from 1025 women who were surveyed.

These findings are already troubling when you know that the subject of mental health is already a touchy topic that many don't like to talk about in the first place. But in the UK, new mothers are supposed to be asked about their own health six weeks after giving birth. It can happen either during an appointment for their baby, or in a separate appointment just for mom. The idea behind this is to spot any anxiety, postpartum depression or more that the mother in question may be dealing with.

via WBUR


The NHS' guidelines even encourage new moms to tell their doctor about how they're feeling. After all, having a baby is a huge change to try and adjust to for most anyone. But if a new mom is given little to no time to bring up such issues, then her doctor will likely not notice them.

Despite the NHS' guidelines, the Royal College of GPs strongly disagrees with all of it.

"Even though six-week checks are generally longer than the standard 10-minute appointment, it is still incredibly hard for GPs to explore all the different factors potentially affecting a new mother’s heath within the time constraints, particularly at a time when general practice is facing intense resource and workforce pressures," Professor and college chair Helen Stokes-Lampard said.

To be fair, the NHS previously expanded their services for mothers dealing with psychological and/or psychiatric conditions connected with giving birth. But it's clear that much more needs to be done for new moms living in the UK. Until then, more and more new mothers are going to struggle with mental health issues related to having their baby.

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