Support for pregnant women and parents-to-be in Leeds

Group support

  • It's a good idea to attend an antenatal education course. For first time parents, Preparation for Birth and Beyond (PBB) courses are available at local Children's Centres. The programme involves six sessions before the birth and one after the baby is born. As well as preparing for the arrival of your baby, it's also a great way to meet parents in your area and share encouragement. Ask your midwife about how you can attend. This short film tells you what to expect at on a PBB course and how they can support you as a parent-to-be.

  • Baby Steps is a group-based support service for families who need some extra support on top of the Preparation for Birth and Beyond course. Baby Steps helps mums-to-be and their partners prepare for being a parent. Welcoming your baby into the world can be very exciting, but it also has its challenges. Baby Steps can help you get ready for your new life with your baby and help you cope with all the new experiences that will come your way. A health worker can refer you to this service.
  • Pregnancy in Mind is a four-week group to support parents-to-be who are feeling depressed or anxious, or who may be at risk of developing emotional health problems. This could be people who have experienced mental health problems before, for example, or may be having an unplanned pregnancy. It covers skills like mindfulness, relaxation and how to 'tune-in' to your baby. You will also be offered support from volunteers during your pregnancy and over the first year after the birth. You can attend this NSPCC group during the middle three months of pregnancy (middle trimester). Ask a health professional to refer you or you can refer yourself by calling 0113 2172200.
  • Best Start Peer Support Project offers a free course (with creche) to people who live in South or East Leeds. If you're pregnant or a parent/carer of children under the age of two this project can help you to cope better and meet other parents-to-be so you can support each other. The course runs for two hours per week for six weeks. At the end of the course there are opportunities to join in with future Best Start Peer Support groups, events and new projects. You can find out where and when courses will be running and complete a referral form on the website. You can also ring either of the organisations who run the project to find out more: Touchstone 0113 271 8277 or Women's Health Matters 0113 276 2851.
  • Children's Centres run groups which are open to pregnant women as well as people who have had their baby. They are a great place to meet other parents-to-be and share experiences. If you are feeling low you may feel anxious about going to a group. You can ring the Children's Centre and explain your worries so they can support you.
  • Gingerbread provides expert advice and practical support to single parents. Call the free helpline on 0808 802 0925 or join a friendship group.
  • Haamla service is a unique service that provides essential support for pregnant women, and their families, from minority ethnic communities, including asylum seekers and refugees, during their pregnancy and postnatal period. It aims to improve access within maternity services and empower and inform women of the choices available during their pregnancy and birth. Contact the Haamla Office on 0113 2065477
  • Mummy Buddy is a community for new mums and mums-to-be that has a Leeds hub, offering the Mummy Buddy Programme, with support from other mums, a monthly social 'Knees Up', small buddy groups of 6-8 mums and more coming soon. You can find out how to join and read more details on their website.

One-to-one support

  • Leeds Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) provides talking therapies to help people who are stressed, experiencing low mood or depression or feeling very anxious. The service gives priority to women who are pregnant or in the first year after the birth of their baby. This means that you don't have to join the general waiting list, however, as this is not a crisis service there is usually a short wait. This service is open to anyone over 17 years old in Leeds so it is also available for partners or other family members. You can refer online here or contact the service on 0113 843 4388.
  • Early Start Counselling (run by the charity Northpoint and funded by Leeds City Council) is available for anyone in the Leeds area who is pregnant (or whose partner is pregnant) or is a parent or carer of a child under the age of five. Appointments are held in local Children's Centres. You can ask a health professional to refer you or you can find contacts to refer yourself here.
  • Birth Matters Clinic, run by Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, offers pre-birth planning to women who have anxiety about giving birth (this may be related to a previous traumatic birth). Speak to your midwife for more information.

Support for more serious mental health difficulties

If you experience more serious mental health problems during your pregnancy your midwife, health visitor and GP can work with you to decide which service is best placed to support you.

  • The Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Midwifery Service provides midwife support to women experiencing serious mental health issues. This means that women can be supported by the same midwife, who has extra training and experience in supporting people with mental health difficulties, throughout their pregnancy. They can also visit women experiencing moderate or severe mental health difficulties in the first month after their baby is born.
  • The Leeds Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team is a mental health service that supports some women with serious mental health problems in late pregnancy and in the baby's first year. They provide intensive care and support through a team of mental health nurses, psychiatrists and support workers. They run the Yorkshire and Humber Mother and Baby Unit at the The Mount, 44 Hyde Terrace, for women with more serious problems who need 24 hour care and support. This is different from a general mental health ward as it means that the baby can stay on the ward with the mother rather than being separated. Watch this video about inpatient care at the Yorkshire and Humber Mother and Baby Unit.
  • If you are under 18 and experiencing serious mental health difficulties during your pregnancy, you may be referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). More information about emotional health support for young people is available at MindMate

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