NHS Tayside has launched a new specialist psychological service for parents who experience emotional difficulties relating to pregnancy or birth. 

The Maternity and Neonatal Psychology service offers psychological support to parents during pregnancy and up to one year following the birth of their baby.

It provides specialist psychological assessment and treatment for parents who are experiencing difficulties arising from pregnancy complications, loss or birth trauma, issues with phobias which impact on maternity care or have infants who require neonatal intensive care.

Parents and families can be referred to the service by healthcare professionals including midwives, health visitors and neonatal staff.

Consultant clinical psychologist Dr Emma Webber said, “This new service offers specialist psychological support at a time that can be challenging for some families.

“Pregnancy and birth are often a very positive experience, but this sadly isn’t the case for all, and we aim to provide timely, compassionate psychological care for those who need it.

“It is a precious opportunity to impact the lives of parents, and their infants – and most importantly, the relationship between them.”

Consultant in neonatal medicine Dr Shetty Bhushan said, “Having a baby born premature or sick and in need of neonatal care can be an extremely stressful and anxious time for parents and babies.

“The national ‘best start: five-year plan for maternity and neonatal care’ recommends that all parents should have access to high quality psychological services with clear referral pathways, and this new Maternity and Neonatal Psychology service will provide invaluable support to families and staff.”

The service has been funded as part of the Scottish Government Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Programme.