Planning for a baby

If you have a mental health difficulty or take medication for your mental health and are planning to or have recently found out you are pregnant, it is a good idea to talk to your GP or mental health professional as soon as possible. They can help you make plans and think about any extra support you may need.

It’s normal to experience different emotions and feelings and it can help to talk about how you’re feeling. You are not alone.

Getting advice

  • You are not currently concerned about your emotional wellbeing OR you are experiencing some mild symptoms but do not feel these are currently impacting on day-to-day life
  • You would like to learn more about your emotional wellbeing and support available when planning for or being pregnant and after you have had a baby

Looking after your physical and mental health before pregnancy can increase your chance of having a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby, as well as reducing complications for your own health. You can find more information on planning for a healthy pregnancy on the Healthier Together website, including practical information on many aspects of health and wellbeing which will be useful if you are thinking about becoming pregnant.

Getting help

  • You are worried about your emotional wellbeing or mental health and are experiencing some mild – moderate symptoms that are impacting on your day – day life or relationships
  • You might be feeling/experiencing:
    • Sad or low in mood
    • Nervous, anxious or on edge
    • Worrying lots or about lots of different things
    • Feeling stressed or overwhelmed
    • Feelings of anger, agitation or irritability
    • Not enjoying things and/or withdrawing from other people
    • Changes to your sleep and/or appetite

Self- Help Techniques via Every Mind Matters

Every Mind Matters offers free, practical tips, advice and techniques to help people with their emotional wellbeing.

NHS Talking Therapies

Run by Solent NHS Trust, NHS Talking Therapies Portsmouth provides free support to anyone struggling with difficulties such as low mood or anxiety. They can provide a range of talking therapies to help you cope and feel better. Support can be offered both via groups and one-to-one, and includes a virtual postnatal support group.

You can self-refer by visiting NHS Talking Therapies Portsmouth.

Your GP

If you are worried about your mental health, then you can contact GP. They can discuss options for support and make referrals. Your GP can also prescribe medication and talk to you about any worries you may have about this.

Portsmouth Mental Health Hub

If you are not sure about what support might be right for you and would like to speak to someone you can call the Portsmouth Mental Health Hub on 0300 123 6621 (Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm)

The phoneline is run by a team of friendly, fully trained call handlers who will connect you to the right support for you. This could be support over the phone, an appointment with other services such as NHS Talking Therapies or Positive Minds or an offer to connect you with other local organisations.

Anyone aged 16+ can call and get support for their mental health. You do not need to go through your GP to access this service.

Getting more help

  • You are worried about your emotional wellbeing or mental health and are experiencing moderate – severe symptoms that are significantly impacting on your day – day life or relationships
  • You have experienced a sudden worsening or new onset of symptoms
  • You are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Please see also urgent help
  • Your symptoms have persisted or got worse despite accessing ‘help’
  • You have a diagnosis of a severe mental health condition such as Bipolar Affective Disorder, Schizophrenia, Personality Disorder, Complex PTSD or Severe Depressive Disorder
  • You take medication for your mental health and would like to access expert advice on medication and pregnancy

Your GP

If you are worried about your mental health, then you can contact GP. They can discuss options for support and make referrals. Your GP can also prescribe medication and talk to you about any worries you may have about this.

Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team

The Perinatal Mental Health Service is a specialist service for women and birthing parents who are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or have had a baby who are experiencing severe or complex mental health needs and / or where this is impacting on or there are difficulties in the parent – infant relationship.  The multi-professional team consists of consultant perinatal psychiatrists, mental health nurses, psychologists and assistant psychologists, nursery nurses, peer support and carer support workers, occupational therapists, social workers, and an administration team. They work together to provide specialist care and interventions, in the community.

The Perinatal Mental Health Team will offer preconceptual advice (when planning for a baby) to individuals with existing severe mental health diagnosis and/or complex medication.  Talk to your GP or mental health professional to discuss a referral.

You can find out more information on the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust website.

Community Mental Health Team

Our A2i team offer holistic assessments to individuals with severe mental illness aged 18 and over. The team work closely with other mental health teams in the community, including GP surgeries and The Crisis Resolution Home Team (CRHT) to understand and assess your needs to help you recover

The support offered to patients is personalised based on their needs and symptoms. If longer term support is required, the patient can be referred to the Community Mental Health Team.

The team do not currently accept referrals. However, you can be referred by your GP, other professional or via the  Portsmouth Mental Health Hub.

Portsmouth Mental Health Hub

If you are not sure about what support might be right for you and would like to speak to someone you can call the Portsmouth Mental Health Hub on 0300 123 6621 (Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm)

The phoneline is run by a team of friendly, fully trained call handlers who will connect you to the right support for you. This could be support over the phone, an appointment with other services such as NHS Talking Therapies or Positive Minds or an offer to connect you with other local organisations.

Anyone aged 16+ can call and get support for their mental health. You do not need to go through your GP to access this service.

Urgent help

  • You are experiencing intense emotional distress that is difficult to bear
  • You are experiencing thoughts and / or plans of violent self-harm and suicide
  • You feel unable to keep yourself safe
  • You are feeling hopeless for the future
  • You or your family/friends have noticed changes to your behaviour and/ or thoughts such as hallucinations, delusions or paranoia

If you need emergency medical help immediately, call 999.

If you need urgent help for something that’s not life-threatening, you can call 111. They have specialist nurses who can support both adults and young people with the mental health and connect you with local CRISIS services. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week and is from any phone. You can also visit NHS 111 online.

If you are currently under the Community Mental Health or Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Teams, you can call the CRISIS team direct on the number provided.

If you are worried about caring for your baby or child, you can call the Multiagency Safeguarding Hub on 023 9268 8793, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm or 0300 555 1372 out of hours.

If you need urgent help, are feeling unable to keep yourself or others safe, please call 999 immediately.