RCM comments on new JAMA research on prenatal depression

By RCM on 13 July 2018 RCM Prenatal Depression Women Pregnancy Midwives Maternal Mental health Jama Research

Research published today (Friday 13th of July) by JAMA shows an increased prevalence of depression in today’s young mothers, compared with their mother’s generation giving birth to their daughters in the 1990s.

Responding to the research, Clare Livingstone Professional Policy Advisor at the Royal College Midwives (RCM) said; “This is a very interesting study. The findings show rates of depression in pregnancy are up by fifty percent in a generation which is quite alarming.

“Clearly depression is increasing across the population as a whole and now we are seeing a corresponding rise in prenatal depression. The study alludes to the impact of chronic stress, sleep deprivation eating habits and financial and employment stresses all contributing to depression in this generation. The RCM is also concerned that women experiencing social isolation from family and friends or living in areas where traditional communities have broken down maybe more susceptible or at risk of suffering from prenatal depression.

“Increasingly women find themselves dependent on support from the very resources that have suffered cuts in recent times and due to Government austerity measures we are seeing vital local support services such as parent groups, children’s centres, libraries being inadequately funded or often shut. Also, there must be more provision when it comes to antenatal classes and preparation for parenthood for both mothers and fathers.

“The RCM has said time and time again that there is an urgent need for the Government to invest more into funding services for women suffering with pregnancy related mental health problems. Every Trust with maternity services should have a specialist midwife in post to enable women who are unwell to get the very best care and support they need.

“What is also important is timely access to psychological and therapeutic support services, investment in peer support programmes, and the reversal of cuts to core local services.

Early intervention and support can go a long way in helping to prevent mild and moderate mental health issues developing into more serious problems.”

Read the RCM’s report (July 2017) Every mother must get the help they need’

To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].


Notes to editors

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.