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Mother baby mental health services

Pregnancy, birth and the period after having your baby can be challenging. It is important to care for your mental health during these times, which are referred to as the perinatal period. We care for the mental health of women in north western metropolitan Melbourne and western Victoria.

During your pregnancy and after you give birth, you may experience mental health issues. Sometimes, a woman’s existing mental health issues or a specific illness may worsen after having a baby. Many women, of all ages and from all different backgrounds, can have these experiences. It is important that these experiences are acknowledged and supported as early as possible. These issues can have a long-term impact on mothers and babies. Mother baby services provide a range of care and supports to women in western Victoria and north western metropolitan Melbourne.

Mother baby services, as a part of Mercy Mental Health, consist of the:

  • Mother Baby Unit for inpatients at Werribee Mercy Hospital
  • outpatient service at Mercy Mental Health Wyndham Clinic.

Specialist mother baby services provide:

  • clinical care for mental health disorders during the perinatal period
  • opportunities for education and training for health providers
  • research into the factors that cause perinatal mental health disorders
  • staff training and development
  • secondary consultation with mental health professionals and community-based professionals (GPs, psychologists, maternal child health nurses, and affected families).

The catchment for our mother baby services includes: North-Western Metropolitan region and extends to the SA and NSW Borders. This includes Western Metropolitan Melbourne, Barwon and Geelong, Glenelg, The Grampians, Loddon, Campaspee, Southern Mallee and Northern Mallee.

Mother Baby Unit

The Mother Baby Unit cares for women with childbirth-related psychiatric or psychological disorders. This inpatient service aims to increase women’s opportunity to bond with their baby and provide the medical, psychological and personal support they need. Babies younger than 12 months and not yet toddling are admitted with their mothers.

Husbands, partners or significant others are encouraged to attend the initial meeting and any other interviews as needed.

Discharge planning from the unit is an essential part of the program so that transition to home can be a positive experience, and that the appropriate support services are available.

Inpatient program

Following initial assessment, we will explore treatment and management options and discuss individual service strategies.

These may include:

  • individual therapy
  • couples counselling
  • medication
  • group sessions. These are an integral part of the program and all mothers are expected to attend. The sessions are facilitated by members of the team. Mother/baby interaction and education groups are also significant within the program, along with self-development.

For more information, please see our Mother Baby Unit inpatient page and our outpatient services.

Our history in perinatal mental health

Mercy Hospital for Women was the first obstetric hospital in Australia to provide a perinatal mental health inpatient service within a maternity care setting, when it opened Mother Baby Unit at its East Melbourne Hospital in 1988.

Mother baby care and support is offered at Werribee Mercy Hospital and Mercy Mental Health Wyndham Clinic. The Mother Baby Unit is located at Werribee Mercy Hospital. This service provides inpatient care for women experiencing mental health disorders in the postnatal period, until their infant is one year old.

There is also an outpatient service for women, which operates from Mercy Mental Health’s Wyndham Clinic.

If the matter is urgent, please:

  • call 000 in the case of an emergency
  • call your Area Mental Health service triage. Contact details for your area are available from the Department of Health

Last reviewed July 10, 2018.

Mercy Health Breastmilk Bank

As the only Breastmilk Bank in Victoria, the Mercy Health Breastmilk Bank provides vulnerable infants with access to safe, screened and Pasteurised Donor Milk.

Mercy Health Breastmilk Bank

Werribee Mercy Hospital

Werribee Mercy Hospital is a general hospital providing comprehensive care in the south western region of Melbourne.

Werribee Mercy Hospital

Mercy Hospital for Women

Based in Heidelberg, Victoria, Mercy Hospital for Women is a major public hospital and specialist referral centre with the medical, nursing, midwifery and allied health expertise to provide complex obstetric, neonatal and gynaecological care.

Mercy Hospital for Women