The Sheffield Perinatal service is a consultant-led specialist mental health service for women with mental health problems who are thinking of becoming pregnant, are already pregnant or have given birth in the last 12 months.
The aims of the service are to;
We aim to provide a flexible service that meets the needs of the women and their families who have been referred. Appointments are offered in a number of locations, such as antenatal clinic, home visits, Sure Start premises, as well as at the Michael Carlisle Centre.
There is no waiting list and appointments are offered quickly, usually within a month.
The Sheffield Perinatal Mental Health service is one of a handful of community services in the country offering this kind of specialised care for women. The service is commissioned to provide perinatal mental health care for women in Sheffield, but will see women living outside the area if agreed with their PCT.
Dr Nusrat Mir - Consultant in Liaison Psychiatry
Jan Cubison - Clinical Service Manager
Rachael Ibbotson - Service Administrator
Michael Carlisle Centre,
75 Osborne Rd,
Referrals can come from any source, but are predominantly taken from Primary care colleagues, secondary care mental health teams and maternity service staff including obstetricians, midwives and health visitors.
Mode of referral: either Perinatal Mental Health referral form or typed letter of referral, sent by fax or post.
Question: What is postnatal depression?
Answer: Postnatal depression is an illness that occurs within the first six months following childbirth. It is characterised by persistent low mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, poor concentration, sleep disturbance, poor appetite, weight loss, feelings of worthlessness and ideas of self harm and suicide. The symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
If you are depressed, you may be noticeably weepy and worry constantly about your baby's health. This may lead to sleepless nights. You may think you are a 'bad mother' and compare yourself unfavourably with others in your peer group. Suicidal thoughts, fear of harming the baby, irritability and loss of libido are recognised features which may put further strain on you and your relationship.
Question: Is it safe to take antidepressants whilst breastfeeding?
Answer: According to currently available research evidence, certain types of antidepressant which pass on at low levels in breast milk are thought to be safe to take when breastfeeding. However, data on the longer-term effects of breastfeeding whilst on antidepressants is still lacking.
Any decision by your GP or psychiatrist to recommend an antidepressant will be based on a careful assessment of the risks posed by your postnatal depression versus the possible risks of taking an antidepressant whilst breastfeeding.
Question: It is wrong to take psychiatric medication when you are pregnant, isn't it?
Answer: Pregnancy is a time when you naturally want to do what you think is best for you and your unborn child. For most women they can avoid taking any medication altogether. Some women with mental health problems can come off their psychiatric medication when pregnant and are fine. However, for others, the risk to them and their pregnancy of coming off medication in terms of mental ill health can outweigh the risk posed by the medication to the unborn child. In such cases, a psychiatrist may recommend that you either remain on your current psychiatric medication whilst pregnant or change to alternative medication. If you are on medication, you will need to be monitored closely throughout your pregnancy.
Question: Will you inform Social Services and will my baby be taken away?
Answer: There is no automatic referral to the Children and Families Services for women under mental health services and you will not have your baby taken away from you simply because you have mental health problems. Everyone who has a baby is assessed by the professionals working with them to make sure that they are capable of looking after their baby. You will be treated in the same way as everyone else. If you become too ill to care for your baby, someone else (usually a relative) will care for your baby until you are well. You may be asked if you want to be referred to Children and Families Services, because they may be able to offer you support, e.g. a family support worker, after you have had your baby.
Rachel Ibbotson (Admin Co-ordinator)
Sheffield Perinatal Mental Health Service
75 Osborne Rd
Fax 0114 2716066
This page was last updated on 19th November 2012