|Counselling and postnatal depression||| Print ||
Many women with PGP also experience postnatal depression (PND) because of the physical problems they have postnatally in addition to the changes involved in having a new baby. It is estimated that around 1 in 10 women experience postnatal depression and women who have had difficult pregnancies or deliveries are more likely to experience it. It is important to seek help early, as PND is treatable and the sooner it is recognised, the sooner you can start to feel better.
Some women who have had difficult and traumatic births go on to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - such as nightmares, flashbacks and intense unhappiness. This is not the same as postnatal depression and does not respond to antidepressants, but requires specialist counselling treatment or advice.
It can be very helpful to discuss the issues surrounding PGP with a professional counsellor who is not directly involved at home. Counselling is available through your GP - ask your GP or health visitor for more information. There could be waiting lists, however, so you may prefer to try a local independent counsellor. Women who experience PND may or may not recognise it in themselves and may need support from a partner, family or friends to help them get treatment.
Some hospitals offer a ‘Birth Afterthoughts’ service, where you can talk through your experiences in detail with a midwife. Ask your hospital/midwife for contact details. If your hospital does not offer this service, ask your GP to refer you to a counsellor (counsellors specialising in sexual problems can be particularly helpful) or contact a helpline such Birth Crisis. It can be helpful to write down your experiences in the third person, as if you were writing an article for a magazine.