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Gloucestershire Business News

Website striking the right balance for mums

A new website aimed at pregnant women and new mums built during the first period of lockdown is aiming to offer support, comfort and tips for those struggling with anxiety.

Picture: Paul Tinworth

Founded by Helen Hyde, who struggled with anxiety after the birth of her daughter, Maternal Balance looks to provide #asafespacetobreathe during the ongoing coronavirus restrictions and beyond.

The mother of one from Tetbury said: "I was incredibly lucky with the support system around me and the chance to pay for professional help quickly, but not everyone has access to that.

"I saw an opportunity to provide resources which could hopefully help what seems to be a growing number of women experiencing postpartum anxiety."

A 2017 report by Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said one in five women develop a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the first year after the birth.

And a study by Aptaclub in June found 54 per cent of pregnant women or those with new babies experienced some form of anxiety, particularly around key moments such as scans and hospital stays.

Main concerns included not being able to see loved ones or meeting up with other new mums to socialise.

In England, 1,688 babies are born every day and in May the Children's Commission published a briefing paper which said: "At the best of times, around 10 per cent of new mothers face perinatal mental illness."

A report in August from Best Beginnings, Home Start UK and Parent-Infant Foundation, which surveyed 5,000 parents, found only one third expressed confidence in being able to access mental health support.

"Even though you have a little person with you all the time, maternity leave can be an incredibly lonely time and these feelings are particularly exaggerated at the moment during lockdown," said Helen.

"Anecdotally, anxiety appears to be a growing concern for new parents and none more so that during a pandemic.

"It is our hope that Maternal Balance can provide a safe space in which to breathe. Somewhere to calm, focus and find your confidence as a new mum."

Maternal Balance features free to access video and audio downloads, blogs and case studies as well as tips, techniques and advice.

The website has been made possible by a wealth of different experts including psychiatrists, wellbeing coaches, yoga teachers, physiotherapists, nutritionists and mental health professionals.

One of the stories featured on the site is that of Natalie who had OCD and anxiety throughout pregnancy.

She said: "Getting the right support when you need it can be a lifeline for pregnant women and new mums. I can't imagine what extra impact lockdown would have made to my mental health."

You can find practical help, advice and support at maternalbalance.co.uk 

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