Pregnancy and having a baby can be a very exciting and joyful time but also a time of adjustment and stress. This can be difficult for both new mums and partners and can cause changes in mood and symptoms of anxiety. Most of the time, this will get better with support of friends, family, GP and other healthcare professionals. A perinatal team can be involved when more specialist support is required. For woman with longstanding significant mental health problems, pregnancy and having a baby can be a particularly difficult period. Many woman will benefit from preventative measures antentally and support and treatment can be put in place by the perinatal team. Perinatal mental health teams were set up after studies found that access to evidence based specialist mental health care was significantly beneficial to mum, baby and family.
Our team is made up of mental health nurses, mental health support workers, psychologists, parent infant therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, nursery nurses and specialist psychiatrists. We also work in conjunction with the specialist perinatal staff at the maternity hospitals.
We work with woman antenatally and postnatally with longstanding severe mental illness. These include bipolar, psychosis, previous post partum psychosis, eating disorder, OCD and severe anxiety. We can also be available to support women who have previous had admissions to a mother and baby unit or women who present with new symptoms during the perinatal period.
We offer assessment and treatment and work with women in community settings.
There are two perinatal teams within the AWP area. One team covers Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. The other team covers Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.