search Menu

Perinatal Mental Health

Starting a family can be both an exciting and challenging time. It’s normal to feel emotional and nervous about adjusting to life as a parent.

If however you’re experiencing severe mental health difficulties or you’re at risk of becoming very unwell during your pregnancy (antenatal) or up to one year after the birth (postpartum), our team can support you.

Maternal mental health challenges can come in many different forms. It might be that you’re experiencing them for the first time before pregnancy, or you’re vulnerable to relapse.

We may be able to help if you: 

  • Are at risk of becoming very unwell during your pregnancy, or up to one year after your child is born
  • Have a history of psychotic illness, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
  • Are having a sudden onset of depression or anxiety and feel at risk of harm, either to yourself or others
  • Have had a traumatic birth, including caesareans (C-section) and feel distressed about being pregnant again
  • Have struggled to come to terms with the birth experience and showing signs of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

Once you’re referred to us, we’ll review your situation and decide the best support for you. This may include an initial assessment with you, either over a call or face to face at your home.

We may recommend other services for you if we feel that you would benefit more from a different type of support, such as our Talking Therapies service.

If we’re able to support you, we’ll work with you to provide different treatment options, such as:

  • Guidance on using mental health medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Care planning advice if you’re pregnant and have complex mental health needs
  • Boosting your wellbeing once your baby is born (postnatal), to prevent relapse
  • Advice and support on mother-infant relationship

Our Children Young People and Families (CYPF) service can also support you if you need help bonding with your child

Read our  CYPF blog post on Getting to know your baby (opens new browser tab)

We also offer guidance if you’re caring for someone in Berkshire during their pregnancy.

Unfortunately, we don’t accept self referrals to our service. 

We encourage you to speak to your GP or health provider such as your midwife to see whether a referral to our perinatal service would be appropriate. 

If you’re already being treated by our Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT) or you’ve been discharged within the last six months, they will make sure you receive the right care. 

If you have low mood or anxiety during pregnancy and after having your baby, our Talking Therapies service offers priority psychological support for you and your partner.  

Find wellbeing advice for new parents on Talking Therapies website (opens new browser tab)

You can also use our SHaRON online network for support around maternal well-being during your pregnancy and in the five years following birth.

SHaRON provides a secure way for people across Berkshire to interact and help each other. Access to this peer support is safe and available 24/7. Your health and social care professional can discuss SHaRON with you and recommend a referral if its appropriate.

GP referrals

GP referrals can be made through the Gateway system

Call 0300 365 2000 (Press option 5)

Email gateway@berkshire.nhs.uk  

Our service covers all areas across Berkshire, including Bracknell, Windsor Ascot and Maidenhead, Slough, Reading, Wokingham and Newbury/West Berkshire.

We ask that you please speak to your GP or health provider, such as your midwife, to see whether a referral to us would be appropriate. 

We're open at the following times.

We're unavailable on bank holidays.

Day of the week Opening time
Monday 9am to 5pm
Tuesday 9am to 5pm
Wednesday 9am to 5pm
Thursday 9am to 5pm
Friday 9am to 5pm

Our mental health teams and services, including Talking Therapies, are available if you need support. 

Find out how to access mental health support (opens new browser tab)

You can also find resources and guides on our website to help you if you need more advice.  

Resources to help with your mental health wellbeing (opens new browser tab)

Here, in her own words, one of our patients shares her story of her experience of birth trauma and PTSD, and her recovery.

Read about one of our patient's experiences of birth trauma and PTSD, and her recovery (pdf)

Our Neurodiversity Passport can help you communicate your needs to our staff. It covers sensory processing, your communication preferences, and topics that might make you feel anxious and overwhelmed, so that we can support you.   

Read about our neurodiversity passport