Our health psychology team support women and couples who are experiencing emotional difficulties related to pregnancy, childbirth or pregnancy loss, or related to a gynaecological condition.

Pregnancy, delivery and the early post-partum period can be the best and worst time for women and partners. It is a time when expectations and assumptions about birth, or becoming a parent, can be shattered or upheld and anxieties which have previously not been problematic can become unmanageable.  A difficult birth experience can be traumatic.  Birth trauma is regularly misdiagnosed as an adjustment reaction or post natal depression and a missed presentation of birth trauma has negative implications for a subsequent pregnancy with increased likelihood of re traumatisation.

Stillbirths, neonatal deaths, and miscarriages are devastating for couples and families. Terminating a pregnancy for either medical or social reasons can also result in psychological distress. Furthermore, experiences of loss and trauma can contribute to women experiencing sexual difficulties with much cross over between medical/gynaecological and psychological treatments.

The feeling of being in safe and compassionate hands underpins how birthing women experience and evaluate their care.  Psychological staff, embedded in the obstetrics and gynaecology services, provides a specialist perspective and insight into obstetric-specific anxieties, and into the wider psychological aspects of pregnancy and birth.

What sort of problems can we help with?

  • Anxiety or adjustment difficulties as a result of pregnancy
  • Fear related specially to pregnancy – such as giving birth, needles or blood tests
  • Distress following a traumatic delivery in our hospital
  • Distress in pregnancy associated with a physical health problem
  • Anxiety in a subsequent pregnancy after a birth trauma
  • Coming to terms with miscarriage, stillbirth or termination
  • Pregnancy decision-making
  • Psychosexual issues related to gynaecological conditions
  • Painful sex after childbirth
  • Overactive bladder syndrome

How to be referred

You can be referred to our service by a member of staff or you can self-refer by contacting us on 01670 564 095. We want to make sure that every woman is in the service where they are best placed so if you refer yourself and it is unclear if we are best placed to work with you, we will contact you by phone or letter so that we can work this out together.

As a guide, if you are currently having or have recently had contact with another mental health team or service, it is usual that those services will continue to be best placed to work with you. If this does not apply to you, you have a concern that is specifically related to one of the problems listed above and you are having/have had your medical care within Northumbria Healthcare, it is likely that we are best placed to work with you.

Where we are based

Our service is based on the belief that the psychological needs of our maternity and gynaecological patients are best provided for in a health setting by a service embedded in the wider maternity and gynaecological environment. We are therefore hospital based, which helps us help you navigate your maternity and/or gynaecological experience and can normalise much of the associated fear, anxiety and stress. We work closely with our medical, nursing, and physiotherapy colleagues and currently have clinics at Wansbeck General Hospital and North Tyneside General Hospital. We are also able to offer appointments via phone and video call.

Useful Links

Short Patient Experience Feedback

Long Patient Experience Feedback

Service leaflet

When sex is painful leaflet

Birth reflection page