The programme is part of a local pilot study which has given the Salisbury midwives psychological training, improved assessment skills and a process for onward referral to the hospital’s clinical psychology department.
Fiona Coker, Head of Midwifery and Neonatal Services said: “While pregnancy is an exciting and emotional time for women, worry and feeling low in mood can be a normal part of pregnancy and it’s important that women are aware of natural feelings during this time and that they are able to talk these through with their midwife.”
Sarah Pestell, Counsellor and Psychotherapist at Salisbury District Hospital said: “Around 1 in 10 women experience anxiety and depression during pregnancy and shortly after, so it’s important that midwives are able to differentiate between normal levels of worry and more serious underlying difficulties, which could have an impact on the woman and their baby.”
“It’s essential that we are able to detect these problems early in the pregnancy and provide the appropriate support and treatment where necessary. We have improved the whole assessment process and made it more sensitive, so that it can pick up underlying emotional distress. It has given our midwives the confidence to ask more difficult questions and women the opportunity to speak more openly about their concerns. If they do have a problem we want women to know that they are not alone - there is plenty of support available to them here in Salisbury.”
The pilot screening programme has been published in the British Journal of Midwifery and the team are now talking to other hospitals about the project and how it could be used elsewhere.
For further information please contact:
Public Relations Manager
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.
Tel: 01722 425170