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Perinatal mental health


Mental health is an area in which midwives feel notoriously ill-equipped. This article aims to provide a framework of key areas within mental health that can be built upon by additional reading, experience and study. The article does not cover the diagnosis or assessment of mental health conditions; instead, it aims to inform and increase awareness of the midwife in the prevention and early identification of mental health conditions.

The care provided by midwives needs be holistic and salutogenic in nature. In practice, this means that the impact of the psychological wellbeing should be given as much weighting and importance as any obstetric or physical care that is provided.

Learning objectives

This resource aims to improve your knowledge of the mental health conditions that can affect women during and after pregnancy, and how you can respond.

On completion of the module, you should have a better understanding of:

  • The prevalence of mental health conditions in the pre- and postnatal periods
  • Your role in strengthening and promoting emotional wellbeing
  • The identification of women at risk
  • The need to secure appropriate care.

Keywords and linking topics

Maternal mental health, antenatal care, postnatal care, booking appointment, referral, vulnerable women


This resource links to the October 2017 Article of the Month, Perinatal mental health and wellbeing: policy and practice by Anna Gaudion and Claire Homeyard. We recommend that you read the article in conjunction with undertaking this module to enhance your learning.

Questions at the end of this resource will enable you to assess your knowledge and reflect on how you can incorporate it into your own practice. In the following questions, please select the answer that you believe to be correct. This will be marked and then you can move on to the next question. If you wish, at the end you can return for a further attempt at the questions.

Upon completion of the module, you will be able to download and save or print a certificate to include in your CPD/revalidation portfolio.