Psychosocial factors in pregnancy can occur due to high stress levels, and can have a direct impact on the woman, and an indirect impact on the foetus. These factors are also known to be related to implications such as preeclampsia, birth weight, and and intrapartum complications.
This can be caused especially when, a person is experiencing many eventful life changes, within a restricted period of time such as pregnancy. Transitioning from womanhood to motherhood can be a very overwhelming process, affecting some women more negatively than others. Transitioning to motherhood for some can be a time of growth and maturity; however it may also be an exposed risk of mental disorders to women. These disorders can range from mild “Baby blues” to more severe disorders such as psychosis, puerperal mania and more commonly postnatal depression.Certain groups of women can be deemed more vulnerable to psychological problems during pregnancy.
This can be (1.) Substance abusers to alcohol and drugs (2.) Teenagers who are vulnerable) ( 3.) women with previous unfortunate pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriages or stillbirth (4.) women with active or serious medical or physical problems such as cancer or diabetes or (5.
) women with no support system, who possibly could have suffered from postpartum depression, psychosis or have been abused and many more. These types of women will have a high risk of psychological problem whilst being pregnant. • Victims of domestic violence• Women with prior psychiatric disorders (e.
g., depression, BPD, schizophrenia, etc.)• women with multiple pregnancies• Or even women who are homelessExperiencing high levels of stresses during pregnancy can create a massive impact on a woman’s mental state, which can result in the foetus development to become “strained”. This can result in low birth weight, preeclampsia preterm labour and other implications.During antenatal analysis, a midwives role would be to identify the factors, which could lead to putting women at risk of developing postnatal depression.
Strategies that are put in place, such as ‘primary prevention’ and ‘early intervention’ are to prevent death, disease and improve positive mother-baby relationships. The Department of Health (DOH 2002) states that maternal mortality due to mental illness around pregnancy and childbirth has the ‘potential’ to be ‘prevented’, by identifying mothers at risk during the antenatal period. So during the antenatal period, what can midwives do to identify and minimise the risk factors that may lead a woman to develop postnatal depression and what can be done to prepare a woman for adaptation to motherhood?Community midwives are subjected to carry out risk assessments throughout the antenatal period and required to share the gathered information, with other health professionals. This information is shared with Health visitors, General practitioners, community mental health teams and obestric consultants when required. During assessments good communication and observational skills will be needed to assess a woman’s mental health during these visits.
NICE (2003) guidelines recommend a minimum of 7-10 visits, if a woman requires more, or the midwife has any concerns then more appointment visits will be arranged.