Help and emotional support during pregnancy and the first year after having a baby

Having a baby can be joyful, exciting and rewarding. However, it is also common for you and/or partners to experience anxiety, depression or emotional distress. As many as one in five people experience emotional difficulties during pregnancy and in the first year after their baby’s birth. This can happen to anyone.

NHS Talking Therapies 

Every London borough has an NHS Talking Therapies service (sometimes still called IAPT) which offers free, confidential talking therapy for people who have symptoms of anxiety or depression. They give priority if you are pregnant or new parents. This page explains more about the service and the help we can offer you if you need it.

It is common if you are pregnant or a new parent to experience:

  • low mood, sadness and tearfulness
  • anxiety, worry and tension
  • irritability and anger
  • difficult or unexpected feelings towards your pregnancy or baby
  • poor sleep even when your baby sleeps well
  • feeling unable to cope or enjoy anything
  • thoughts that you are not a good enough parent
  • worrying thoughts about your baby
  • anxiety about labour or struggling to come to terms with a difficult labour.

Asking for help

It can be difficult to talk about how you are feeling and ask for help. Common reasons for this are:

  • you may not know what is wrong
  • you may feel ashamed that you are not enjoying your baby or coping as you believe you should
  • you may worry that your baby will be taken away.

Struggling emotionally at this time can happen to anyone. It is not your fault.

Asking for help doesn’t mean you can’t cope or are not able to care for your child. It’s the start of getting the right help and support to ensure you can be the parent you want to be. 

How NHS Talking Therapies can help you

NHS Talking Therapies offers short-term talking therapy to give you space to talk. The types of therapy offered will vary depending on your local IAPT service. These may include guided self-help sessions with a therapist, cognitive behaviour therapy, couples therapy and counselling.

How to contact NHS Talking Therapies

You can refer yourself to NHS Talking Therapies by phoning your local service directly or via their website. Contact details for local services can be found below. You may find it hard to contact the service yourself, please ask your midwife, health visitor, friend or a family member to help you make that first call. Your GP can also make the referral. We know that pregnancy and the first year of your baby’s birth is a very important time. NHS Talking Therapies will offer you an assessment and treatment as soon as possible.

What to expect when you contact NHS Talking Therapies

When you first make contact you will be asked for some brief details. A time will be arranged for you to speak to one of the therapists. This appointment will be booked as soon as possible, usually within a few days. The first appointment is to find out about your current difficulties. This helps NHS Talking Therapies decide how they can best help you.

At the end of the appointment, they will discuss the support options available and agree a plan.

All NHS Talking Therapies aim to be flexible and want to make it as easy as possible for you to get the help you need. You can often bring your baby to sessions if you want to. Services usually offer you a choice of locations for your appointment, sometimes in antenatal clinics or children’s centres.

Find your local NHS Talking Therapies

Borough Phone number Website
Lewisham 020 3228 1350

Lewisham Talking Therapies

Greenwich 020 3260 1100 Greenwich Time to Talk
Bexley 020 8303 8932 Mind in Bexley







Always Ask – trust your instincts

It’s important to trust your instincts and to ask a professional if you have a health concern or are worried that something doesn’t feel right with your pregnancy.

If you have a concern that is non-urgent, please call your midwife or call our Maternity Helpline on 020 8836 4491.

If your concern is urgent, please attend your closest hospital to be reviewed by the maternity team.

Always Ask is the message of a campaign launched by Tommy’s charity, King’s College London and the BabyCentre website to empower pregnant people to overcome fears about speaking to professionals about any health concerns.

The film animation below was developed with the help of 34 women who have previously experienced serious complications in pregnancy or birth. While pregnancy information often mentions specific red flag signs and symptoms such as stomach pain or bleeding, the ‘Always Ask’ campaign does not talk about specific symptoms; instead, it encourages you to trust your  instincts and ‘look out for changes that don’t feel right’. It also gives practical tips on appointments, getting listened to and being taken seriously.

Watch the ‘Always Ask’ animation.

You can also find links to support at


Perinatal Positivity

Perinatal Positivity uses the real voices of women and men who have had mental wellbeing difficulties around the time of pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. We hope the Perinatal Positivity film will help you emotionally prepare and find support at this time. 


Support for Black mothers and birthing people

The Mummas Together Group in Bexley is a peer support group dedicated to Black mothers in the Borough of Bexley. This relaxed and informal group is free to attend and gives mums the opportunity to meet one another and speak with health professionals while their children enjoy the play area. Professionals are available to discuss mental health, infant feeding, pelvic health, maternity care, health visiting and more. Mothers from Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham are welcome to attend. Watch the film below produced by the Motivational Mums Club to find out more.  

For more information about the work of Motivational Mums Club please visit the Motivational Mums Club website or email Chrissy Brown, Founder of the Motivational Mums Club and Health Equity Expert: