Mental health toolkit

Perinatal and menstrual cycle mental health


NICE Clinical Guideline [CG192] Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance - This guideline covers recognising, assessing and treating mental health problems in women who are planning to have a baby, are pregnant, or have had a baby or been pregnant in the past year. It covers depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, drug- and alcohol-use disorders and severe mental illness (such as psychosis, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia).

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – Premenstrual syndrome, Management. (Green Top Guideline No 48) (2016) - This guideline reviews the diagnosis, classification and management of premenstrual syndrome. In addition, the evidence for pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments is examined.

Useful resources

UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service (UKDILAS) - UKDILAS provides evidence based information on the use of drugs during the breastfeeding period.

UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS)  - This site and offers information on the use of medication in pregnancy and is linked to ToxBase (which has more detailed reviews)

Patient and carer information

Action on Postpartum Psychosis - Action on Postpartum Psychosis is the national charity for women and families affected by postpartum psychosis and contains links to peer support services and patient information guides.

Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPS) - This website provides reliable, evidence-based, and accurate information about use of medicines in pregnancy, in the form of freely available patient information leaflets, written by the UK Teratology Information Service.

Breastfeeding Network - BfN endeavours to provide information to enable mothers to breastfeed their babies for as long as they wish and to provide information on the safety of medicines for each mother and baby pair.

Contact - Support for parents raising a child with additional needs or disabilities.

Cry-sis - Cry-sis offer support for parents with crying and sleepless babies. The website includes signposting to a helpline (08451 228 669) open until 10pm 7 days a week.

Dads in Mind - Dads in Mind offer both group and 1:1 support to dads supporting their partners with mental health during pregnancy and after birth and/or experiencing depression/anxiety related to their own new role as a parent.

ICON - A website designed to provide support to parents who are struggling with infant crying. Reassurance and coping strategies are offered. There is also advice for professionals.

International Association for Premenstrual Disorders - Support, information, and resources for women and assigned female at birth (AFAB) individuals with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and Premenstrual Exacerbation (PME).

Make Birth Better - Support for partners affected by birth trauma.

National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome - Provides support with, and assistance in the management of, premenstrual syndromes.

National Childbirth Trust (NCT) - Advice and guidance on postnatal depression in Dads

PND Awareness and Support (PaNDAS) - PaNDAS offers peer support, Facebook groups, chat and email/telephone help for anyone affected by postnatal depression – be it mothers, fathers or families.

Royal College of Psychiatrists – Postpartum Psychosis for Carers - This page aims to explain the symptoms of postpartum psychosis and to describe the care and treatment available.

Tommy’s - Information on recognition and sources of support for PND in fathers.

Further information and reading

British Association for Psychopharmacology – Perinatal (2017) - This consensus document weighs up, in detail, the pros and cons of the use of psychotropics pre-conception, during pregnancy and postnatally.

Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – Valproate use by women and girls. - Information about the risks of taking valproate medicines during pregnancy – the toolkit includes a credit card-sized patient card to be given out by pharmacists, booklets for healthcare professionals and patients, and a checklist of questions that doctors can use to guide discussions with patients about valproate.

National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health  – The Perinatal Mental Health Care Pathways (2018) - Designed to support the implentation of the NICE antenatal and postnatal mental health guideline, the tables on pages 5-8 offer an easy-to-read summary of the key points in the guidance.

RCGP and GPs Championing Perinatal Care. Antenatal and postnatal mental health NICE guideline CG192. Practical implications for GPs. (2015, updated 2023) - This document was produced by GPs and focuses on the primary care aspects to the content of the NICE guideline on antenatal and  postnatal mental health. It splits it into ten reflective questions which take GPs, and the primary care team, through the most crucial aspects of perinatal mental health in a succinct but informative way.

RCGP 5 minute screencast - Perinatal mental health (2018) - This screencast looks at how we can better identify pregnant and postnatal women within primary care, and the steps that we can take to ensure they get the support and treatment they need.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – Maternal Mental Health – Women’s Voices (2017) - This report is the result of a survey of over 2300 women in 2016 about their experience of perinatal mental health problems. Key findings included low rates of referral, long waits, regional variations in care, challenges in continuity of care, misunderstanding and stigma. The mental health of women’s partners is also of concern. The report makes some key recommendations on the principles of good care and a brief summary for professionals is on page 15 of the PDF (xiii).

Royal College of Psychiatrists College Report 232 - Perinatal mental health services: Recommendations for the provision of services for childbearing women (2021)This College Report summarises the latest evidence base for the extent and impact of perinatal mental disorder and opportunities for intervention. It sets out best practice principles and guidance on effective interventions and including the role of general practice (see page 28 of the PDF).