Perinatal psychiatry is a relatively new sub-specialty and controversy exists about such specialist provision. Differences can occur in how mental illnesses present in pregnancy, and there is a need to take into account both mother and baby. The risks of not treating perinatal mental illness can be both acute and chronic, and suicide in the context of untreated illness remains a leading indirect cause of maternal mortality. Despite the government’s agenda of preventive healthcare, service provision is inequitable across the UK. Advice regarding treatment continues to be complex, and perinatal psychiatrists need to keep abreast of a growing evidence base. This review offers an overview of some current issues in the care of patients in the perinatal period and shows how specialised perinatal services are uniquely placed to meet their needs. Hopefully, it will prove useful to all clinicians responsible for the perinatal care of women and their families.
- ©2016 American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
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