Mental health during pregnancy and the post-partum period is a key contributor not just to maternal outcomes, but also mother-infant bonding, family well-being and healthy growth and development during childhood.
Monday9.00am - 12.30pm
‘Starting well and staying well’ is never more important than in the area of maternal mental health. Mental health during pregnancy and the post-partum period is a key contributor not just to maternal outcomes, but also mother-infant bonding, family well-being and healthy growth and development during childhood. Women with serious mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, face additional challenges, such as ensuring disease stability and optimising medication regimes during pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period. Best outcomes for these women can be achieved with true multidisciplinary team management, ensuring integration of obstetric, psychiatric and neonatal care priorities.
The Mercy Perinatal Mental Health service provides an integrated service for women with major mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression. Our team includes maternal fetal medicine specialists and midwives, psychiatrists and psychologists, as well as a full allied health support team. This clinic also welcomes pre-pregnancy visits for women with major mental health conditions in order to optimise pregnancy planning including safe medications for conception and beyond.
This clinic takes referrals for women with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other serious mental health conditions such as severe depression. We look after pregnant women with severe, refractory depression who require electroconvulsive therapy at Austin Health. Women requiring psychotropic medication that have teratogenic potential (such as lithium) should ideally be referred before conception so that medication regimes can be optimised prior to pregnancy. Women with milder forms of mental illness, including anxiety and depression, can be referred to general obstetric and midwifery clinics where they will also be able to access perinatal mental health support services.