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This briefing contains background information, parliamentary and press material, as well as suggested further reading which Members may find useful when preparing for this debate.

Perinatal mental health services focus on the prevention, detection and management of mental health problems that occur during the perinatal period – pregnancy and the first year after birth.  Services include specialised in-patient mother and baby units, specialised perinatal Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs), maternity liaison services, adult mental health services including admission wards, community and crisis services, and clinical psychology services linked to maternity services.   New mothers are encouraged to undertake a postnatal check with their GP at around six to eight weeks after birth.

In a July 2018 article for The House Magazine, the Members leading this debate, Andrew Selous and Dr Paul Williams, highlighted variation in the experience of new mothers when receiving the postnatal GP check.  They also called for an inclusion of a separate six-week maternal check on mental health and wellbeing in the standard GP contract.

In May 2018, NHS England announced 35 sites currently underserved by community services that would see an expansion in perinatal provision, as part of a plan to have access for mothers in all parts of the country by April 2019.

Documents to download

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