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Perinatal Mental Health: A clinical guide

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Title: Perinatal Mental Health: A clinical guide

Edited by: Colin R Martin

Publisher: M&K Publishing 2012

Reviewer: Paul Veitch, nurse consultant, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust

What was it like?

Perinatal mental health is a comprehensive text concerning mental health care from conception to the first or second year. The textbook tackles this complex area of health and social care in seven carefully chosen parts, covering 38 chapters over 571 pages. The topics are many and diverse and would satisfy experts in psychiatry as well as those non-mental health workers seeking reference to a particular clinical challenge.

Chapters address those issues found commonly in clinical practice such as low mood, to those less common such as substance misuse or obesity. There is a welcome focus on the mental health of partners and the ”child health and development” section is essential reading.


What were the highlights? 

Clinical academics from psychiatry, nursing, midwifery, psychology, social work and medicine have been brought together in one carefully edited text. This virtual multidisciplinary team brings a contemporary and international expertise to the readers’ door. Before I ever opened this book, I asked it some questions from my own (adult mental health) practice. One of these was, “how should I respond to a woman who has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and was keen to have a child?” This book gave me clear answers, some new insights and practical advice. It then posed me some ethical questions but gave me a clear steer and road to follow in order to address these. This book went on to answer my other questions in a similar manner.

The language used is clear and helps a book written with expertise remain highly accessible.

Strengths & weaknesses:

This book is well laid out with strong sub-headings and uses clear tables throughout. It offers a range of boxes which summarise key messages and learning points. There are clear figures, an example of which is a two page spread on assessment that would serve as a useful reference in any antenatal clinic. The references are comprehensive and not artificially restricted to papers from the modern era.

There will be areas missing such a guide might have addressed but in everyday practice you are unlikely to need to go further than this.

Who should read it?

This book gives a wide coverage of the subject matter and one clearly aimed at practicing clinicians of any discipline, not just mental health workers. I thought it was full of ideas and innovation, answering my questions with ease.

Those studying perinatal mental health from any discipline will welcome this book and it will sit happily on a university as well as a hospital library shelf. Large primary care teams will see it as a valuable resource.

Importantly much of the text is written with clarity, which parents, or parents to be, will be able to access.

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