Perinatal Psychiatry Masterclass for senior trainees resources

Please note that these resources are for your information only and should not be used or duplicated elsewhere.

This programme will run from 10-14 October 2022.


Monday 10 October 2022 - Day 1- Introductions and overview of where the UK and Ireland are in relation to service development; assessment and communication; the lived experience of women and their partners

Tuesday 11 October 2022 – Day 2 – Mental disorders in the perinatal period; pre-birth planning

Wednesday 12 October 2022 - Day 3 – Safeguarding; prescribing in the perinatal period

Thursday 13 October 2022 – Day 4 – Evaluating the infant; substance dependency and misuse; interpreting the evidence in relation to risk in prescribing in pregnancy

Friday 14 October 2022 - Day 5 – Personality Disorder in the perinatal period; psychological treatments; risk, leadership

The aims of this masterclass programme are to:

  • enable and support senior trainees develop skills and knowledge in their assessment, understanding and management of the complex clinical work involved in working with women of childbearing potential and in the perinatal period
  • encourage participants to integrate current evidence into clinical practice
  • develop self-reflection skills
  • emphasise the importance of the perspectives of women, infants, partners and families throughout the perinatal pathway
  • improve patient safety
  • improve the experience of women and families during the perinatal period and within perinatal mental health services.

The following key issues are fundamental aspects of perinatal mental health care and will be discussed and considered throughout the programme:

  • safeguarding children and adults
  • culture and difference
  • collaborative working with women, partners and families
  • women’s own experience of perinatal mental disorders and care
  • legal issues


The full programme for the Masterclass for Senior Trainees is available online.

Learning objectives and reading lists will be provided before each day.

Each session within the day will have a didactic component and small group work/discussion.

Facilitators: Dr Liz McDonald, Dr Lucinda Green, Dr Roch Cantwell and Dr Clare Dolman (on Day 2)

Each day will start at 9:15am and finish at around 4.30pm.

Speakers: Dr Clare Dolman, Dr Lucinda Green and Dr Liz McDonald

Intended learning objectives

At the end of day 1 participants will be able to:

  1. understand the different approaches to development and delivery of PMH services within the different nations.
  2. describe the range of factors that can affect a woman’s mental health in the perinatal period and her experience of pregnancy and parenting.
  3. summarise, formulate and communicate assessments to enable women, families and professionals to understand the factors which have contributed to her mental health problems, associated risks and/or her risk of developing a perinatal mental illness.
  4. demonstrate an awareness of the barriers to care for women in the perinatal period
  5. understand the factors influencing women’s decision-making around pregnancy and childbirth
  6. recognise how healthcare professionals can improve the experience of women and families receiving perinatal mental healthcare
  7. recognise the effect of a woman’s perinatal mental illness on her partner.

Recommend reading

  1. Perinatal Mental Health Services - CR232 (
  2. Scotland:
  3. Scottish care pathways
  4. England care pathways
  5. Wales: together-for-mental-health-delivery-plan-2019-to-2022.pdf (
  6. Ireland:
  7. Darwin, Z., Domoney, J.,Iles, J. et al. Involving and supporting partners and other family members in specialist perinatal mental health services. NHS England (2021)
  8. PMH Partners Ambition FAQs. PMH Partners Ambition FAQ - National Perinatal Mental Health Workspace - FutureNHS Collaboration Platform
  9. NHS England (2016) The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health
  10. NHS England (2019) The NHS Long Term Plan
  11. Lever Taylor, B., Billings, J., Morant, N., Bick, D., & Johnson, S. (2019). Experiences of how services supporting women with perinatal mental health difficulties work with their families: a qualitative study in England. BMJ Open, 9(7):e030208.
  12. Dolman, C., Jones, I., & Howard, L. M. (2013). Pre-conception to parenting: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of the qualitative literature on motherhood for women with severe mental illness. Archives of women's mental health, 16(3), 173–196
  13. Ruffell, B., Smith, D.M. & Wittkowski, A J. (2019) The Experiences of Male Partners of Women with Postnatal Mental Health Problems: A Systematic Review and Thematic

Speakers: Dr Lucinda Green and Dr Liz McDonald

Intended learning objectives

At the end of day 2 participants will be able to:

  1. understand the course of depression, OCD, schizophrenia, BPAD and Post-partum psychosis within the perinatal context
  2. understand how to organise and chair a perinatal mental health pre-birth planning meeting to ensure that the woman, her partner and other family members and the relevant professionals have a shared understanding of any concerns, needs and risks as well as the woman and family’s strengths.
  3. develop effective perinatal mental health care plans collaboratively with women, partners, other carers and professionals.

Recommend reading

  1. Di Florio A &Jones IR. (2019) Postpartum Depression. BMJ Best Practice. 4.
  2. Bergink, V., Rasgon, N., & Wisner, K. L. (2016). Postpartum Psychosis: Madness, Mania, and Melancholia in Motherhood. The American journal of psychiatry, 173(12), 1179–1188.
  3. Challacombe, F. L., Bavetta, M., & De Giorgio, S. (2019). Intrusive thoughts in perinatal obsessive-compulsive disorder. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 367, l6574.
  4. Dazzan P. (2021). Schizophrenia during pregnancy. Current opinion in psychiatry, 34(3), 238–244.
  5. Forde R, Peters S, Wittkowski A. Recovery from postpartum psychosis: a systematic review and metasynthesis of women's and families' experiences [published online ahead of print, 2020 Feb 4]. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2020;10.1007/s00737-020-01025-z
  6. Howard, L. M., & Khalifeh, H. (2020). Perinatal mental health: a review of progress and challenges. World psychiatry : official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 19(3), 313–327.
  7. Perry, A., Gordon-Smith, K., Jones, L., & Jones, I. (2021). Phenomenology, Epidemiology and Aetiology of Postpartum Psychosis: A Review. Brain sciences, 11(1), 47.
  8. Pre-Birth Planning: Best Practice Toolkit for Perinatal Mental Health Services (2019) Pan-London Perinatal Mental Health Networks.

Speakers: Dr Angelika Wieck, Prof Ian Jones, Dr Lucinda Green and Dr Liz McDonald

Intended learning objectives

At the end of day 3 participants will be able to:

  1. describe the factors highlighted in child serious case reviews which can affect children’s safety and wellbeing and increase the risk of abuse and neglect
  2. recognise how perinatal mental health services, working effectively in partnership with a range of professionals, can ensure child safeguarding concerns are identified early and that effective care, treatment and support for women and families can reduce the risk of harm to infants and children
  3. be familiar with currently available evidence on the reproductive safety of the main psychotropic drugs, resources that provide high quality evidence updates and current influential prescribing guidance.

Recommend reading

  1. Department for Education (2018). Working Together to Safeguard Children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. London: HM Government
  2. Department for Education (2020) Complexity and challenge: a triennial analysis of serious case reviews 2014-2017. London: Department for Education.
  3. LARA-VP - Linking Abuse and Recovery through Advocacy for Victims and Perpetrators – A resource to help mental health professionals identify and respond to Domestic Violence and Abuse. ( )
  4. Howard, L. M., Oram, S., Galley, H., Trevillion, K., & Feder, G. (2013). Domestic violence and perinatal mental disorders: a systematic review and meta- analysis. PLoS medicine, 10(5), e1001452
  5. Hahn, C. K., Gilmore, A. K., Aguayo, R. O., & Rheingold, A. A. (2018). Perinatal Intimate Partner Violence. Obstetrics and gynecology clinics of North America, 45(3), 535–547
  6. McAllister-Williams, R. H., Baldwin, D. S., Cantwell, R. et al (2017). British Association for Psychopharmacology consensus guidance on the use of psychotropic medication preconception, in pregnancy and postpartum. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 31(5), 519–552.
  7. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2014). Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health - Clinical Management and Service Guidance. Clinical Guideline 192.
  8. MHRA: Valproate use by women and girls (2018).
  9. Pre-conception advice: Best Practice Toolkit for Perinatal Mental Health Service (2019) Pan-London Perinatal Mental Health Networks.
  10. Delivering preconception care to women of childbearing age with serious mental illness -

Speakers: Dr Angelika Wieck, Professor Ian Jones, Dr Maddalena Miele and Dr Emily Finch

Mandatory reading: These papers will be made available on the webpage. They must be read with the letter from Dr Wieck and Professor Jones before the session.

Intended learning objectives

At the end of day 4 participants will be able to:

  1. understand the kinds of methodological problems that hamper research into the reproductive safety of psychotropic drugs and be able to take these into account when interpreting peer-reviewed publications
  2. be able to apply current evidence and general principles for the pharmacological management of pregnant and breastfeeding women to clinical scenarios.
  3. understand the keyways in which perinatal mental health problems can affect the ability of women to interact with their infant
  4. demonstrate a basic knowledge of the current clinical approaches to assessing parent-infant relationships
  5. outline the determinants of a sensitive parent-infant interaction
  6. understand the issues encountered in measuring how common substance misuse in pregnancy is.
  7. explore ways to identify substance misuse in pregnancy
  8. understand what interventions are available to reduce the harm from substance misuse in pregnancy.

Recommend reading

  1. P.O. Svanberg , J. Barlow & W. Tigbe (2013) The Parent–Infant Interaction Observation Scale: reliability and validity of a screening tool, Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 31:1, 5-14.
  2. Stein A, Pearson RM, Goodman SH, et al. Effects of perinatal mental disorders on the fetus and child. Lancet. 2014;384(9956):1800‐1819.
  3. Clinical Guidelines on Drug Misuse and Dependence Update 2017 Independent Expert Working Group (2017) Drug misuse and dependence: UK guidelines on clinical management. London: Department of Health – page 220 pregnancy section

Speakers: Dr Nic Horley, Dr Lucinda Green and Dr Liz McDonald

Intended learning objectives

At the end of day 5 participants will be able to:

  1. understand how personality function may become disordered in pregnancy and postnatally
  2. appreciate the importance of assessment and treatment of personality disorder by perinatal mental health services
  3. understand the different psychological therapies for women with mental disorders and their use during the perinatal period
  4. describe the epidemiology of self-harm and suicide in the perinatal period.
  5. describe the distinctive clinical features of maternal suicide.
  6. recognise risk in relation to maternal suicide and apply this to clinical assessment.
  7. understand the advantages of compassionate leadership approaches for leaders and teams
  8. recognise the importance of self-compassion.

Recommend reading

  1. Steele KR, Townsend ML, Grenyer BFS (2019) Parenting and personality disorder: An overview and meta-synthesis of systematic reviews. PLoS ONE 14(10): e0223038. https://doi. org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223038
  2. Parenting and Borderline Personality Disorder: Ghosts in the Nursery Louise Newman and Caroline Stevenson Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry 2005 10: 385 DOI: 10.1177/1359104505053756
  3. Adshead, G. Parenting and personality disorder: Clinical and child protection implications Advances in Psychiatric Treatment · January 2015
  4. Blankley et al. Borderline personality disorder in the perinatal period. Australas Psychiatry 2015; 23:688-92.
  5. Petfield L et al. Parenting in mothers with borderline personality disorder and impact on child outcomes Evidence-Based Mental Health 2015;18:67-75
  6. Risholm Mothander, P., C. Furmark, and K. Neander (2018), Adding “Circle of Security–Parenting” to treatment as usual in three Swedish infant mental health clinics. Effects on parents’ internal representations and quality of parent‐infant interaction. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. 59: p. 262-272
  7. Oates M & Cantwell R (2011) Deaths due to psychiatric causes. Saving Mothers’ Lives: Reviewing maternal deaths to make motherhood safer 2006- 2008. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 118 (s1), 132-142.
  8. Cantwell R, Knight M, Oates M, Shakespeare J on behalf of the MBRRACE-UK mental health chapter writing group (2015) Lessons on maternal mental health. In Knight M, Tuffnel D, Kenyon S, Shakespeare J, Gray R, Kyrinczuk JJ (Eds.) on behalf of MBRRACE-UK. Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care – Surveillance of maternal deaths in the UK 2011-13 and lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2009-13. Oxford: National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford 2015: p22-41.
  9. Cantwell R, Youd E and Knight M on behalf of the MBRRACE-UK mental health chapter-writing group (2018) Messages for mental health. In Knight M, Bunch K, Tuffnell D, Jayakody H, Shakespeare J, Kotnis R, Kenyon S, Kurinczuk JJ (Eds.) on behalf of MBRRACE-UK. Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care - Lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2014- 16. Oxford: National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford 2018: p42-60
  10. West, M., Eckert, R., Collins, B., &Chowla, R. (2017) Caring to Change. How compassionate leadership can stimulate innovation in health care. The King’s Fund
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