What is perinatal mental health?

‘Perinatal’ is the Latin word for ‘around birth’. So when we talk about perinatal mental health, we’re talking about emotional well-being during pregnancy and the first year after birth.

Becoming a parent can be really tough. It’s a period of huge change and adjustment. So it’s very common for new and expectant parents to find themselves experiencing perinatal mental health difficulties.  

These can include a wide range of symptoms. We’ve described just some of them below.

During pregnancy and as a new parent, you may be feeling - 


  • You’re constantly worrying – often about the same thing over and over again, like your baby’s routine or health

  • You’re scared about things you wouldn’t usually be scared of

  • Your mind can’t switch off, even when you’re exhausted

  • Everything is overwhelming and small tasks feel really challenging


  • You’ve lost your zest for life

  • Everything feels like a huge effort – you can’t find joy in anything

  • You feel confused, like you can’t think straight

  • You feel sad constantly and are often in tears

  • You feel hopeless

Worried about bonding

  • You haven’t felt that wonderful wave of unconditional love for your baby that you’ve seen in films and on TV

  • You feel a sense of detachment from your baby

  • You feel frightened around your baby, and find the sense of responsibility overwhelming 

Low in confidence

  • You feel guilty about not being the ‘perfect’ parent

  • You worry that how you’re feeling will affect your baby

  • You’re constantly comparing yourself to other parents, thinking they cope much better than you

  • You don’t want to socialise with other parents in case they judge you

All of these feelings are very ‘normal’ - they’re just not talked about enough! The good news? Most parents are able to manage and overcome these feelings with the right support.

At Bluebell, we support people with mild to moderate perinatal mental health difficulties for up to two years after their child is born. We offer space spaces for parents to open up about their feelings and find tools and techniques to help manage them. Find out how we can help.

We believe everyone should be able to access information on perinatal mental health in a culturally appropriate way. To support parents & raise awareness, Acacia Family Support have produced a series of films discussing perinatal mental health in DariGujaratiMirpuriPunjabiSlovakian and Urdu.

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