Perinatal Mental Health Services

Compassionate Support for New & Expectant Mothers

Pregnancy, the birth of a baby, and the first year of life are exciting and life-changing experiences for a woman and her family. For some women, this can be a time of mixed emotions, including feelings of anxiety and sadness, especially if they have pregnancy complications and other stresses in their lives or if they have a history of a previous mental health disorder.

In fact, mental health difficulties are very common during this period, with approximately one in ten women experiencing significant depression and/ or anxiety during pregnancy and/or the first year of their baby’s life.

Research tells us that treatment is effective and can prevent negative impact on the woman, her baby, and her family.

Sidra Medicine’s perinatal mental health services provide women-, infant- and family-centered assessment, treatment and care for women whose obstetric condition is having an impact on their mental health and emotional wellbeing, or whose pre-existing mental health issues may be affecting their pregnancy and postnatal period. If the woman wishes, husbands and families are encouraged to be involved.

Clinic staff are available to take calls Sunday to Thursday from 7am-3pm. After hours, messages will be responded to on the next working day. We do not provide an after-hours outpatient service or emergency services. If you have a mental health emergency, we recommend you attend Hamad Hospital Emergency Department.

What is Perinatal Mental Health?

We are called a “perinatal mental health service” because we provide treatment and care to women, their infants and their families during the perinatal period, which includes the time from when a couple plan their pregnancy through the pregnancy and the first year of a baby’s life.

We have two services which work together to provide streamlined care:

  • Women’s Wellbeing Clinic This clinic operates out of Sidra Medicine Outpatient Clinic, on the 4th floor, with the obstetrics and gynecology teams. Our operating hours are 7am-3pm, Sunday to Thursday. You are most welcome to bring your baby and husband or family support person with you to appointments.
  • Consultation Liaison (CL) Service – Members of this team are able to provide consultation and support to women who are admitted to Sidra Medicine during their pregnancy and/or their delivery and postpartum care. We are also able to provide support to women and families who have a baby in the Special Care Nursery. If you attend our outpatient clinic, you can be seen by our service, if needed, during your inpatient stay; likewise, if you are referred during an inpatient stay and require ongoing support or treatment, you may be referred to our Women’s Wellbeing Clinic for outpatient follow-up.

    Your Visit with Our Team

    Our clinician will meet with you to explain the purpose of the referral to perinatal mental health services. Following a detailed assessment, we will provide you with feedback regarding diagnosis and recommend treatments that are likely to be helpful. Treatment may include individual or group therapy (counseling) and/or medication. Where possible, we would like to meet with you and your husband or family support person so that our advice can be most suited to you and your family’s situation. We will also provide feedback and recommendations to the referring clinician and your obstetrics team, as necessary.

    Some of the common problems we assist with include:

    • Excessive stress
    • Anxiety, particularly women who have excessive worry about their pregnancy or their baby, or who have fears of medical procedures and childbirth
    • Depression or persistent low mood
    • Adjustment difficulties to motherhood
    • Medication advice for women who are pregnant and taking medications for pre-existing mental health difficulties
    • Trouble bonding with baby
    • Dealing with a complicated pregnancy
    • Reactions to a traumatic birth
    • Emotional difficulties associated with caring for a baby who is fussy, colicky, or ill, or who has high needs
    • Difficulties coping in the context of pregnancy loss or abortion or neonatal death
    • Anxiety/stress experienced during infertility treatment

    In addition to the above, we offer a preconception service for women with a past history of, or current mental illness who are planning a pregnancy and seeking advice regarding what medications, treatment, and support will help them remain emotionally well.

    You can get a referral via several ways:

    • Referral from your current healthcare provider whether government or private centre.
    • Self-referral by phone call or coming to the Outpatient clinic personally without a referral paper.

    Inpatients can be be referred by their treating obstetrician. Please discuss with your healthcare provider if you feel, you would benefit from seeing someone from our team.