Both the mother (up to 10%) and the father (up to 5%) can experience mental health issues during the pregnancy and after birth.
It is normal to have some worries, stress and fears when one is pregnant. Pregnancy and the arrival of a baby is a big change, and pregnancy itself can be stressful due to the physical and hormonal stresses.
Certain risk factors can put you at greater risk of developing mental health issues during pregnancy:
1. past problems with mental health
2. feeling that one doesn't have adequate support from spouse, family and friends
3. going through a hard time e.g. in relationship or work
4. past or current physical, sexual or psychological abuse
5. addiction to drugs or alcohol
Any one can have a mental health issue and there is no stigma to acknowledge that one has a mental health issue. In fact, it often takes some one brave to acknowledge that there is an issue and wishes to solve the problem.
You may require more help from a counsellor / doctor if:
1. you have felt sad or worried consistently for more than 2 weeks
2. your negative thoughts and feelings are starting to affect your ability to function normally
3. you are losing interest, feeling hopeless or unable to cope, and losing weight and losing sleep
4. you feel anxious or worried most of the time
5. you start to have panic attacks or develop obsessive or compulsive behaviours.
One commonly used screening questionnaire to assess your mental wellness is the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale which you can also use to screen yourself during pregnancy. You can find the questionnaire at this link here: http://med.stanford.edu/content/dam/sm/ppc/documents/DBP/EDPS_text_added.pdf