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12th Jul 2018

Great news for mums to be as new mental health service launches for pregnant women

Melissa Carton

Fantastic news for pregnant women as a new mental health service launches in Limerick.

The new Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service has launched at University Maternity Hospital Limerick to help support women experiencing mental health problems during and after pregnancy.

I’ve suffered from mental health issues most of my life and they were particularly difficult during my first pregnancy.

To be honest I was afraid to tell anyone, including my midwife, what I was going through in case they saw me as an unfit mother.

I have met a lot of women who went through the same dilemma during their pregnancies so this new service will be welcomed with open arms by many mums-to-be.

Soon to be mums living in the MidWest will now be able to access this new service through referral by their GP, midwife or obstetrician.

The Medical Social Work Walk-in clinic opened earlier this year and supports this new service.

It also runs in parallel with the Monday morning ante-natal clinic at the hospital.

Dr Mas Mahady Mohamad told the Limerick Post that the main focus was to provide high-quality care for women with mental health difficulties throughout pregnancy and up to the end of the first postnatal year;

“Women who suffer from perinatal mental illness often do so in isolation, fearful of being stigmatised. In the two months that we’ve been in service, we’ve heard many personal stories of women who felt that they were not able to access help or support for their mental health needs.”

Dr Mendinaro Imcha referred to a report by MBRRACE-UK which concluded that mental health problems are related to around one in four maternal deaths between six weeks and a year after childbirth.

“According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, one in five women develop mental health problems during pregnancy or in the first year after delivery. By providing the right perinatal mental health care to those in need, we will be reinforcing the joy of pregnancy and ensuring a brighter future for our society.”

Often mental health is disregarded as not being as important as our physical health which is a huge misconception.

During a neuroscience lecture that I attended during college, my professor brought up this point and added that he didn’t understand why our brain is given so little attention when it comes to our well being.

He summarised his feelings by saying ‘if our brains don’t function, we don’t function,’ which is major food for thought.

Colette Cowan, the UL Hospitals Group chief executive said that this new service symbolised the strong collaboration between UL Hospitals Group and Midwest Community Healthcare in their quest to improve access for pregnant patients seeking mental health advice.

Many rural areas are left behind Dublin when it comes to medical services, and mental health services are particularly vulnerable to suffering from a lack of funding.

During pregnancy, we go through many changes, hormonally and physically and these changes can make a huge impact on our mental health.

This new service will now help to make sure that more mums to be can access vital medical advice when it comes to looking after themselves and their babies.