Infant-Parent Perinatal Service (IPPS) – Oxfordshire

What we do

IPPS offers support to parents (mothers or fathers) of babies in the antenatal and post-natal period (From 12 weeks pregnant up to 12 months postnatally) who are experiencing, or are at risk of developing, moderate pregnancy/baby related mental health difficulties.

This may include one or more of the following:

Depression, low mood & anxiety (related to being in the perinatal period)
  • scores on screening measures for depression or anxiety in the mild to moderate range.
  • phobias associated with childbirth and pregnancy
  • Physical symptoms (e.g. persistent difficulties with sleep, appetite, concentration)
  • Suicidal thoughts without associated plans or intent
  • Thoughts of harm towards infant without associated plans or intent
  • Occasional deliberate self-harm accompanied by suicidal thoughts without plans or intent
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Obsessions and/or compulsions associated with childbirth and pregnancy.
  • Obsessions and/or compulsions potentially resulting in impairment of ability to care for infant.
  • Intrusive thoughts (especially involving the infant) where risk of harm to self or infant is low.
Eating Disorders (for mothers aged 18 and over)
  • Symptoms of anorexia with BMI of below 18 during pregnancy
  • Occasional or mild bingeing and/or purging behaviors
  • Symptoms of anorexia and body image concerns without risk of malnourishment of the foetus.
Parent-infant relationship difficulties
  • Frequent and increasing feelings of rejection and/or disinterest towards infant (born or unborn)
  • Feelings of rejection, detachment and/or disinterest towards infant (born or unborn)
  • Doubts as to whether the infant is really their own child (often in relation to being unable or unwilling to discuss childbirth)
  • Potential attachment difficulties due to impaired emotional regulation in the parent
  • Difficulties with adjustment to parental role

Our service is often offered as an additional service to complement existing care arrangements. We value working alongside and liaising closely with professionals already involved in the mother’s care.

IPPS can also provide specialist consultation, supervision and training to health and social care professionals on request.

Useful information

If you are healthcare professional who needs information and advice, support or supervision, or needs to discuss a referral, please call us on 01865 902171 and our duty worker will respond to you as soon as possible.

Please be aware we cannot provide urgent or emergency mental health support.

We accept referrals from any professional who has concerns about a parent’s mental health during the antenatal period and up to one year in the postnatal period.

If you are considering making a referral, do discuss this with the parent and obtain their consent.

Please note:

  • In cases where mental health difficulties in the perinatal period are moderate to severe and  more intensive support is required, please refer to the perinatal mental health team Oxfordshire Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service – Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • if an emergency assessment is required for a parent who has sudden onset of significant mental health difficulties (such as psychotic or actively suicidal symptoms) and they are already known to mental health services, please contact the Adult Mental Health Team(AMHT)
  • if the patient is not known to mental health services, please request an emergency appointment with their GP, who may then refer to an Adult Mental Health Team (AMHT) within working hours; if your call is outside of working hours, please see the ‘In an emergency‘ page.
  • if the patient is an inpatient at the John Radcliffe Hospital, an emergency referral to the emergency psychiatric liaison serviceat the John Radcliffe can be made directly

To refer a patient, please email our completed referral form to

Address: Maple House, The Slade, Horspath Driftway, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7JH

Phone: 01865 902 171


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Page last reviewed: 21 November, 2023