Tag Archives: perinatal mental health

Eating disorders in pregnancy – animation

eating disorders
Image source: IHV

Eating disorders affect approximately 7.5% of pregnant women and can impact on maternal and infant outcomes. Researchers at King’s College London have translated research on eating disorders during pregnancy and motherhood into practical training resources to help healthcare professionals provide the best care for pregnant women and mothers. This animation aims to raise awareness of eating disorders amongst all health professionals working with women in the perinatal period.

For more information and to see the animation visit the Institute of Health Visiting here


Perinatal mental health community services development fund wave 2

NHS England has announced that applications are now open to STPs for the second wave of the Perinatal Mental Health community services development fund.  The purpose of the fund is to develop specialist perinatal mental health community services, and increase the availability of high quality interventions and support for women, their babies and families.

A total of £23 million is available through the wave two fund this year and from 2019/20 funding for specialist perinatal mental health community services will be allocated through clinical commissioning group baseline (CCG) budgets.

Download guidance documents here

Read the NHS England Press release here

Developing a Perinatal Mental Health Indicator in England (PMHI)


The National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) has updated information about their work on developing a perinatal mental health indicator in England (PMHI). Four indicators have been selected: the Apex indicator; contact with mental health professional during perinatal period; attended contact with Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) during perinatal period; and perinatal IAPT referrals showing reliable improvement/recovery.

The Apex indicator will require new data collection and is thus several years away from implementation. The other three indicators could in principle be created now and adoption depends on the wishes and needs of policy makers. The overarching purpose of the indicator set is: to ensure that maternity and postnatal care services are identifying women with perinatal mental health problems, offering appropriate and accessible mental health services and achieving outcomes acceptable to women and clinicians which minimises potential harms to the woman, her family and the development of her child.

More information available here

Over 1 in 10 women have depression during pregnancy or postnatally

Depression pexels-photo-262102
Image Source: Pexels

This Mental Elf blog post is about a recent systematic review and meta-regression of the prevalence and incidence of perinatal depression. The blogger concludes that the systematic review estimated that the prevalence of perinatal depression is approximately 12%. Estimates of prevalence are important for increasing awareness of depression during pregnancy and the postnatal period, and informing the allocation of health resources. In particular, this study highlights that depression is equally prevalent during pregnancy as in the postnatal period, and that there is a higher prevalence of perinatal depression in low and middle income countries than in high income countries.


Woody C, Ferrari A, Siskind D, Whiteford H, Harris M. (2017) A systematic review and meta-regression of the prevalence and incidence of perinatal depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 219, 86-92. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2017.05.003

Read the Mental Elf blog post here



NHS commits to better care for expectant and new mums with mental health

The Chief Executive of NHS England has announced four new Mother and Baby Units which will allow women to stay with their babies while receiving the specialist care they need. These new units will provide in-patient support for women and their babies with the most complex and severe needs who require hospital care, who are experiencing severe mental health crisis including very serious conditions like post-partum psychosis

“Having a baby should be one of happiest, most life-changing experiences and every mum should have the opportunity to bond with her baby, while receiving the care she needs and remaining as close to her families as possible”

Simon Stephens, Chief Executive at NHS England

Read the full press release here

NICE Clinical Guideline CG192 (update): Antenatal and postnatal mental health

NICE antenatal mental health
Image Source: NICE Pathways

This NICE guideline covers recognising, assessing and treating mental health problems in women who are planning to have a baby, are pregnant, or have had a baby or been pregnant in the past year. It covers depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, drug- and alcohol-use disorders and severe mental illness (such as psychosis, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). It promotes early detection and good management of mental health problems to improve women’s quality of life during pregnancy and in the year after giving birth.

In August 2017, we added footnotes to recommendations 1.2.3, 1.4.27, 1.4.28 and 1.4.29 with a link to the MHRA toolkit on the risks of valproate medicines in female patients. We also updated a crosslink in recommendation 1.8.23 to link to the NICE guideline on violence and aggression. Footnotes were also added to recommendations 1.4.17 and 1.9.9 advising people that the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory is available as an additional resource when seeking advice about specific drugs.

Download the updated guidance here

Every mother must get the help they need

Every mother doc
Image Source: RCM

The Royal College of Midwives has published Every mother must get the help they need (pdf). This report was inspired by the Change.org petition of Lucie Holland, whose sister died in tragic circumstances as a result of mental illness.  Lucie set up the petition in 2015 calling for better awareness and care for those affected by perinatal mental illness.  This petition received thousands of signatures and many people left comments about their own experiences. The RCM and partners have analysed and collated all the comments to form this report, which aims to highlight the need for better awareness and care for those affected by maternal mental health problems.

Read the report here 

Read a press release from the Royal College of Midwives here