Who we help / Perinatal

Perinatal clients

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

This perinatal period is an ideal time for preventive mental health perinatal interventions that promote strong attachment and positive parenting, thereby reducing the risk of later mental health problems for both parents and child.

IAPT Lewisham offers free, confidential talking therapy for people who have a range of emotional difficulties during the perinatal period, such as:

  • Low mood, sadness and tearfulness
  • Anxiety, worry and tension
  • Irritability and anger
  • Difficult or unexpected feelings towards 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 could be:

  • 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 an IAPT service can help you

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

If you think you need support, then please self-refer.

Alternatively, you could also ask your GP, midwife or health visitor to refer you. 

We know that pregnancy and the first year of your baby’s birth is a very important time. Given this, prioritise clients who are in the perinatal period for an assessment and treatment.

A one-to-one therapy session with participants wearing face coverings.

A patient's story

A time will be arranged for you to speak to one of the therapists. When you have your first appointment you will be asked for some brief details about yourself and about your current difficulties. This helps us decide how we can best help you. At the end of the appointment, we will discuss the support options available and agree a plan.

IAPT services aim to be flexible. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get the help you need. You can discuss attending appointments at a convenient time to suit your baby’s’ schedule.

What to expect when you self-refer

Additional resources:

National support organisations

Supports women who have had a traumatic birth experience: www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk

Support for single parent families:


For parents whose babies have been born prematurely or sick.



Stillbirth and neonatal death charity supports people affected by the death of
a baby:


Provides info to parents and funds pregnancy research: www.tommys.org

Local support

Classes and support groups for parents in Lewisham.



Start for Life Lewisham is a two-year government funded programme under the Family hub Initiative that supports with parenting in the early years, including infant feeding and perinatal mental health (perinatal is the period from pregnancy to the first year of a child’s life).


5 week groups are for pregnant mums and new mums with babies up to 12 months old who live in the London boroughs of Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich:


Local singing programme for mothers and babies looking to boost emotional and mental wellbeing.


General information

This website includes the app ‘Baby Buddy’ which is designed to help new parents: www.bestbeginnings.org.uk
Pregnancy, birth and baby app: https://www.bounty.comt
NCT, offers information and support in pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: www.nct.org.uk

Online parenting organisation offering advice on all aspects of pregnancy
and parenting; put you in touch with local groups in your community:


App to connect with women at a similar stage in life: fertility, pregnancy,
motherhood, menopause; meet 1-2-1, join groups, ask advice, join podcasts:


Financial support

Allows you to apply for vouchers to help buy basic foods during your pregnancy: www.healthystart.nhs.uk

Like a foodbank but for clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children up to the age of 5:



Voluntary organisation across London for new mums who have come to the UK as asylum seekers called
https://www.happybabycommunity.org.uk/ which may be of use. They offer
counselling services and lots of occupational therapy type activities.