Pregnancy and Maternity

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01   Perinatal Mental Health Support

It is estimated that more than 1 in 10 women suffer from a mental health illness during the perinatal period (during pregnancy and one year after birth).

AFF has received several enquiries from women suffering from perinatal mental health issues who do not feel they are receiving the required support from the chain of command or from NHS services.

Sound familiar? Contact Karen Ross at healthsupport@aff.org.uk so that we can investigate this further.

You may also be interested in participating in the King’s Centre for Military Health Research  (KCMHR) The Wellbeing of Women During and After Pregnancy (WoW) Study.

Normal mood changes or something more serious?

Pregnancy and childbirth are life changing events for both parents. During the first week after childbirth, many women can experience a low mood and feel mildly depressed at a time when they expect they should feel happy after having a baby, this can be referred to as the “Baby blues”. These feeling are probably due to the sudden hormonal and chemical changes that take place in your body after childbirth.

During this time, it is common for many women to feel tearful, irritable, find it difficult to sleep and have a lack of appetite. However, these symptoms should improve after a few days; if they do not you may be developing postnatal depression (PND).

Don’t feel frightened or guilty about having PND

If you think that you, or someone you know, may have PND, the following organisations can offer treatment and support.

Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA)

MMHA’s campaign, Everyone’s Business, is asking that women in the UK who are experiencing perinatal mental health illness receive the care they and their families need.

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02   Defence Breastfeeding Network

The Defence Breastfeeding Network is an online peer support network supporting members of the Armed Forces and their families on their infant feeding journey. The network can be found on Facebook, Defence Connect and Instagram and can even offer training to gain a Level 2 breastfeeding peer supporter qualification. The network can help with breastfeeding queries, general parenting support and 1:1 lactation support. Civilians are welcome to join if their partner is serving.

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