Covid lockdown warning: Restrictions fuelling ‘epidemic’ of postnatal depression – Leadsom

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The Tory MP, who is leading a government review to give babies the best start in life, said many parents have had a “traumatic time” during the pandemic. Mrs Leadsom said: “We are staring down the barrel of a real epidemic of postnatal depression and early attachment issues with mums who have been unsupported who struggle to really find their feet.

“It’s going to be better in the next few months but we are not out of the woods yet and we will only know in the fullness of time what the impact is on those babies born in lockdown whose parents have really been unsupported.”

Mrs Leadsom, who has three children, suffered from postnatal depression after the birth of her first baby in 1995.

“What stayed with me was the absolute awful hopelessness of postnatal depression and how frightening a time it was with this new baby with no instructions,” she said.

The MP told how she had the support of a loving family but felt she could not cope.

Mrs Leadsom, who has secured a debate tomorrow in the Commons on early years support said she “really worries” for women who have given birth during the pandemic.

Around one in seven women have postnatal depression but the MP fears lockdown has seen the numbers spiral.

Parents have told of feeling isolated and fearful and having a lack of support, she said.

“It’s no wonder that lockdown will have made it so much more difficult.”

She wants the government to allow new mothers to nominate another adult who can visit them at home if the country is in lockdown to give them extra support.

“I think there should be an exception made if you have got a new baby and you are struggling,” she said.

“You ought to be able to have more support around you. You ought to be able to designate one other person to give you face to face help.”

Mrs Leadsom wants services for new mothers to be better joined up, with some having up to 15 different organisations involved after they have given birth.

“Very often for parents, they don’t know what they need and they don’t know what’s available.

“That’s really problematic for parents, particularly at potentially the most vulnerable time of your life.

“That’s what we are going to be focusing on, the importance of join up and proper holistic support for parents.”

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