Whilst women and men are both affected by problems, there are some issues which are specific to women. Each stage in a woman’s life can pose specific challenges to her mental health including hormonal changes, the reproductive cycle, pregnancy and fertility. We've gathered resources to assist women to cope with the psychological challenges they face in the different stages of their life.

Family planning and sexual health

It is important to plan for the future when thinking about having sex. It’s easy to get carried away in the moment but avoiding an unplanned pregnancy and protecting yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is very important. Explore some of our resources below:

You may have heard people say that being on forms of hormonal contraception has impacted their mood, making them feel irritable, low, or anxious.

Some people find the opposite effect and experience improvements in their mood when on hormonal contraception. It is important to remember that everyone’s bodies are unique to them and people can have different responses.

Below is a list of different contraception and various findings of their effects on mood. If you are unsure which method is right for you or if you have any questions, please to speak to one of our team who can help signpost you.

Contraceptive pill 

There are two main types of contraceptive pills – the combined pill or the progestogen-only pill.

The combined pill is often referred to as just “the pill”. It contains artificial versions of female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which are produced naturally in the ovaries. When taken correctly the pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. It is usually taken once a day for 21 days and then not taken for 7 days, during which you will bleed like a period. Then after the 7 days you can begin taking them again. The progestogen-only pill, sometimes known as “the mini pill”, is taken every day with no breaks. If taken correctly, it is also 99% effective.

The NHS website has more information about the contraceptive pill here.


The contraceptive implant is a small flexible plastic rod that's placed under the skin in your upper arm by a doctor or nurse. Once inserted, it can prevent pregnancy for 3 years. It is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. It can be taken out if you have side effects. The artificial hormone that is used in the implant is similar to that used in the mini pill. If you don’t experience any negative side effects when using the mini pill, then it is likely that you will have a similar experience with the implant.

The NHS website has more information about the contraceptive implant here


The contraceptive injection releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. It lasts for 8 or 13 weeks depending on the type you have and is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. A disadvantage of it is that it can’t be removed or discontinued like the implant or pills. This means that any side effects that you experience can continue for as long as the injection lasts (8 or 13 weeks) and potentially for some time after.

The NHS website has more information about the contraceptive injection here.

Hormonal coil (or known as IUS)

The hormonal coil (also known as IUS) is a small, T-shaped plastic device that's put into your womb (uterus) by a doctor or nurse. It lasts for 3 to 5 years, depending on the brand. When inserted correctly, it’s more than 99% effective.
If you experience any negative side effects, it can be taken out at any time by a specially trained doctor or nurse.

The NHS website has more information on the hormonal coil (or IUS) here

Coil (or known as IUD)

The coil, or IUD, is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that's put into your womb (uterus) by a doctor or nurse. It can last between 5 and 10 years and, when inserted correctly, they are more than 99% effective. There are no hormonal side effects, such as acne, headaches or breast tenderness. However, your periods may become heavier, longer or more painful, although this may improve after a few months.

The NHS website has more information on the coil (or IUD) here


Condoms are the only type of contraception that can both prevent pregnancy and protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

There are two types:

  • external condoms, worn on the penis – sometimes called male condoms
  • female condoms, worn inside the vagina – sometimes called female condoms.

When used correctly every time you have sex, male condoms are 98% effective. If used correctly, female condoms are 95% effective. There are no hormonal side effects. Some people may be allergic to latex which is in most condoms but there are other non-latex brand available.

The NHS website has more information on condoms here

Looking for other methods of contraception?

We can provide a safe, supportive space for you to talk about what’s going on for you. We can also help think with you about how you might want to access support and make onward referrals if needed.

Family Planning Assocation

The Family Planning Association produce a number of leaflets to help women make the right choice about their contraception method. 

CNWL Sexual Health Services

This page has information on a range of sexual health care you can download for free. The service also  offers free and confidential sexual health services in London and Surrey. 

The Maternity Trauma and Loss Care Service - also known as M-TLC - provides:

  • Pregnancy loss
  • Still birth and neonatal loss
  • Birth trauma and women who have a fear of childbirth (tokophobia).

The service offers women psychological support through a combination of psychological therapy, specialist midwifery input and peer support. There's a particular focus on women whose early life experiences make them more vulnerable to trauma.

How to access the service

The service accepts both self-referrals and referrals from health and social care professionals, such as GPs, midwives or health visitors. Click here for more

Parental wellbeing and relationships

Looking after your own mental health and well being is an important part of being a parent and carer. Parenting is a full time job - as well as the rewards it can be tiring and stressful. If you feel low or stressed - it can feel even harder. Visit our families and relationships self-help resource page for more. 

Becoming pregnant is a big life event and whether planned or unplanned, it is completely natural if you find yourself feeling a mix of emotions during this time.

The NHS website has a variety of resources that can be used to support you with different aspects of your life during pregnancy:

You may be wondering how your pregnancy will affect you whilst you work. The HSE have created guidance around your health and safety at work which you can read here. It includes information on the following:

  • How to inform your employer

  • Workplace risk assessments

  • Raising your own safety concerns

  • Breastfeeding in the workplace

  • Welfare and general advice

You may want to know more information about Covid-19 vaccinations and fertility, pregnancy or breastfeeding.

If you are above the age of 18 and pregnant, trying for a baby or breastfeeding you can be vaccinated against Covid-19. You can speak to your GP or maternity team for advice. If you decide to attend a vaccination appointment, you will be able to ask any questions you have at the vaccination centre.

You can find more information from here:
NHS: Pregnancy, breastfeeding, fertility and coronavirus

Public Health England: Covid-19 vaccination guide for all women of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding 

Perinatal mental health (PMH) problems are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child. Perinatal mental illness affects up to 20% of new and expectant mums and covers a wide range of conditions.

If left untreated, mental health issues can have significant and long-lasting effects on the woman, the child, and the wider family.

Getting help and support

Talk to your GP

You can always talk to your doctor about your mental health. They can discuss your options for treatment and support, refer you to services and prescribe medication.

Antenatal care

You are likely to be in contact with several different health professionals while you are pregnant. At some point, they should ask you about your mental health and how you're feeling during pregnancy. If they don't ask, you can always bring up any concerns you have.

The NHS website has information about the health professionals who may support you during pregnancy. You can also visit the NHS's Start4Life website for information about pregnancy and becoming a new parent.

Your health visitor

Your health visitor can offer support for looking after your baby and managing your mental health. You can also talk to them about anything you're worried about, or any difficult feelings or thoughts you're having.

They can let you know about other services in your area, or they might suggest that you speak to your doctor.

Perinatal mental health services

There are specialist mental health services in some parts of the country for anyone who is pregnant or has recently given birth. These are called perinatal mental health services. They include teams of specialist nurses and doctors, as well as specialist hospital wards called mother and baby units (MBUs).

Mother and baby units (MBUs) are specialist psychiatric wards in hospitals. You can be admitted to an MBU with your baby if you are having mental health problems during pregnancy or after giving birth.

The MBU can give you treatment and support for your mental health problem. They can also support you in developing parenting skills and bonding with your baby.

Voluntary organisations and charities

There are several voluntary organisations and charities who offer a range of support to families and new parents:

  • Family Lives offers confidential support, information and advice for parents.
  • Home Start offers a service which pairs you with a volunteer who visits you to offer practical and emotional support.
  • Family Action offers specialist support services for parents with a mental health problem. This includes services during pregnancy and after giving birth.
  • NCT runs a range of courses for new parents and has a membership that runs activities and social groups.
  • The Association for Postnatal Illness (APNI) offers information and support about postnatal depression. This includes information for partners and carers.
  • The Breastfeeding Network offers nationwide support about breastfeeding.

Source: www.mind.org.uk

Tavistock Relationships

Tavistock Relationships are offering free relationship support for all NHS staff and social care workers.

Staff will be offered between four to six confidential and flexible sessions (mornings, evenings or weekends) with therapists via online therapy or as an individual or as a couple.

If you would like to access this offer, complete our self-referral form and select the option 'Couples counselling/Relationship difficulties'. A Keeping Well practitioner will help signpost you to more information or get in touch with Tavistock Relationships directly here


Relate is a charity that provides counselling services for every type of relationship. They can help with marriage, LGBT issues, divorce and parenting.

Marriage Care

Marriage Care is a national charity, specializing in adult couple relationships. They provide support for couples and individuals to build and sustain strong, fulfilling, healthy relationships.