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Oxfordshire Perinatal Service

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The Oxfordshire Perinatal team focuses on three key areas

  • Preconception advice for women thinking of starting a family who have a history of mental illness themselves or in their family.
  • New referrals of mums-to-be who are 12-weeks pregnant and up to one year post birth, who have a mental health diagnosis.
  • In reach service to Oxford Health’s adult mental health teams whose patients have fallen pregnant and require support and advice.

Mental illnesses affect more than 1 in 10 women during pregnancy and the first year after childbirth. Some reports estimate this figure to be as high as 1 in 7 women.

Positive maternal mental health contributes to better outcomes for the mother and child; including good parenting and giving the child the best start in life.

Pregnancy and the period after birth come with a variety of emotional and physical changes for a mother and her partner.

Poor mental health during pregnancy and the period after birth can have serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of a woman, her baby and her family.

It is known that undetected and untreated perinatal mental disorders are associated with poorer maternal and neonatal outcomes both in the short and longer term.

Mental health issues can affect a mother’s ability to bond with her baby and so be sensitive to their emotions and needs.

This can impact on the baby’s ability to develop a secure attachment increasing the likelihood that the child will experience behavioural, social or learning difficulties and fail to fulfil their potential.

Last updated: 18 April, 2019