Maternity mental health expands

27th February 2019

A team behind a unit for new and expecting mothers is expanding the service into the community. The Ribblemere centre opened at Chorley Hospital in November with eight in-patient beds to support those suffering from the most severe perinatal mental health problems. This is all part of a plan to spot the early signs and risks of maternity related mental illness and address it before it worsens. Women with a pre-existing mental health condition, such as Bipolar Disorder, are more likely to be at risk of Postpartum Psychosis.

Gill Strachan, a consultant psychiatrist at the unit, said:

“Previously, patients would have had to travel to Manchester or Leeds to be taken into hospital for treatment. We can admit women here who are really very unwell and they can get better with medicine and other therapies.

First, we’ve got to detect a problem so we’re relying on the wider health community to ask the right questions and make a referral to mental health services if necessary. Women might have become more anxious or depressed, but they might not have been keen to talk about it because there is a perception that you should be happy when you’re pregnant. The biggest risk to a new mums mental health come in the first six weeks after her baby is born”.

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