Perinatal Mental Health Service

The Perinatal Mental Health Service is a team of health professionals that provide personalised and specialist care to people living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who have moderate to severe mental health problems relating to pregnancy, childbirth and the first year following a child’s birth (also known as the perinatal period).

Information for clinicians

The team welcomes referrals for women and those who have had a baby who are registered with a GP and living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, with a significant mental illness during the perinatal period.

Please consider referring those who need support to VitaMinds, who can help with mild to moderate mental illness.

We ask that referrers take time to familiarise themselves with the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Pathway and referral criteria, so as to ensure women are receiving the most appropriate care, in a timely manner.


Referral criteria

Please find a link ot the referral form at the bottom of the page.

The service supports those who are planning a pregnancy, pregnant or in the postnatal period who have an existing mental illness and women who develop a severe mental illness during the perinatal period, or have identified risk factors for major mental illness in the postnatal period. This includes:

  1. Pre-pregnancy advice and assessment for high-risk women (i.e. those on mood stabilising or antipsychotic medication, or with a history of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or postpartum psychosis)
  2. Pregnant women with a personal or family history of bipolar affective disorder, or postpartum psychosis.
  3. Pregnant or postnatal women who develop a moderate to severe mental illness.
  4. Previous perinatal mental illness treated by psychiatric services.
  5. Women with other serious non-psychotic illness that severely impact on daily functioning and care of baby.
  6. Medication advice for pregnant or breastfeeding women who are prescribed psychotropic medication for psychiatric purposes.

Women within nine months of childbirth with any of the above illness. 

Anybody referred outside this timeframe will be discussed on an individual basis.

Where a pregnant or postnatal woman is already open on the caseload of mental health services, the perinatal mental health team can offer joint management, as appropriate to the woman’s needs.

Any woman who is admitted to a regional mother and baby unit with a perinatal illness will be seen by the perinatal mental health team on discharge.

Exclusion criteria

Women with a primary diagnosis of organic disorder, or drug and/or alcohol misuse or a learning disability, will only be considered if there is also co-morbid mental illness.

Referral criteria guidance

  1. You can refer any woman resident in the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland area.
  2. Women can be referred from pre-conception until 12 months post-natal, the service will decide on referrals between 9-12 months post natal on a case by case basis.
  3. Referrals are essential for women with current or previous:
    • schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder
    • previous postpartum psychosis
    • severe depression/psychotic depression
    • other psychotic illness
    • family history of postpartum psychosis
    • bipolar affective disorder

These women should be referred even if they are currently well.

  1. Referrals are also accepted for women with other moderate to severe mental illness. Such as post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and personality disorder.
  2. If a woman is prescribed a mood stabiliser, please state this in the referral so that these women can be prioritised and urgent advice given regarding medication.
  3. The service only works with women who cannot effectively be managed within primary care.
  4. The service will work jointly with the community mental health services (CMHT) held cases.
  5. If the woman is a psychiatric inpatient during pregnancy or the postnatal period, she should be referred so that the perinatal mental health service can see her during admission, ensure she has antenatal care if she is pregnant and that she is followed up on discharge from the inpatient unit.
  6. If substance misuse is the primary problem, please refer to local drug and alcohol misuse services. We can work jointly with substance misuse services if the woman also has a severe mental illness.
  7. For women with primary eating disorder diagnosis, please refer to the eating disorder service however, we will joint work if there’s a co-morbid severe mental illness.

How to refer or obtain advice

Please put as much information as possible on the referral form linked below. The completed referral form will automatically be sent to

The perinatal mental health service office is open from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.

A duty worker is available for telephone advice from 9am-4.30pm Monday to Friday to discuss and advise on potential new referrals or women known to the perinatal mental health service. Telephone: duty worker on 0116 225 6846.

Once the referral has been accepted it will be reviewed by the team and an initial assessment to gather further information is made with the women via attend anywhere online appointments system. The woman will receive a letter with the outcome of the acceptance within two weeks. A key worker will be allocated and will be in contact with the women to arrange an initial appointment with her or a medical review may be arranged. A copy of the letter will be sent to the referrer and any other relevant professional involved in the patient’s care and treatment.

If assessment is not considered necessary, referrers will be informed of the decision and offered advice and directed to other appropriate services.

Please note that consent must be obtained before a referral is made, as the service is unable to work with women who have not consented. If there is significant concern about a woman who does not wish to be referred the duty worker can be contacted for advice.

Important to remember that you can re-refer at any time throughout the perinatal period if you have any concerns and please call for advice at any time if you are unsure.

Referral form

Health professionals including GPs, midwifes, health visitors, obstetricians, psychiatrists or the community mental health team can refer into the service. We cannot accept self-referrals.

Referrals can be done via our online form. Please read the full referral information below, before completing the form.

Complete our online referral form


Criteria exclusion

View referrer information

How to access this service

If you are struggling with perinatal mental health issues, we can help you.

Health professionals including GPs, midwifes, health visitors, obstetricians, psychiatrists or the community mental health team can refer into the service. We cannot accept self-referrals so please speak to anyone of the above about getting help from the service.

What conditions do you cover

Post-natal depression, anxiety, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-partum psychosis.

Contact info

0116 225 6846


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