Mums-to-be are expected to emit a happy pregnancy glow - but a new UK study has found that a quarter of pregnant women actually suffer from mental health problems during these nine months.
Researchers at King’s College London carried out the study by recruiting 545 pregnant women attending their ante-natal appointments from November 2014 to June 2016.
During these checkups, midwives asked the women two questions about their mood, a method that has been found to be extremely effective in identifying mental health issues.
The results were surprising - and reflect a greater need for mental health checks for pregnant women.
According to the results, one in four women had mental health issues during pregnancy. 11 per cent suffered from depression, 15 per cent had anxiety, two per cent suffered from eating disorders, and two percent had obsessive-compulsive disorders, with many women suffering from multiple issues.
The research, which was carried out by Professor Howard and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, aimed to bring awareness to the mental health issues pregnant women experience - and how simple it is to identify and treat them.
Addressing these mental health issues during pregnancy is important because according to the study, “mental disorders during pregnancy are associated with adverse outcomes for women, pregnancy, the fetus, infant, childhood, and adolescence.”
Howard said: “In clinical practice, maternity professionals need to identify whether or not a woman has any mental disorder, not only mood disorders which until recently have been the main focus of concern.”
According to Howard: “Women should be asked, by a non-judgemental and supportive health professional, at all contacts in pregnancy and after birth about their emotional wellbeing.”
Implementing mental health testing during pregnancy should not be difficult - as women are seeing their doctors frequently during pregnancy.
In order to ensure both mums and children are safe and happy during pregnancy, health professionals need only ask.