Perinatal and Women's Mental Health Service

Pregnancy and the year after giving birth represent a unique period in a woman's life. Becoming a mother entails psychological, sociocultural, spiritual and physical transitions. Some women struggle with these transitions because of their own history, their life circumstances, or because there are too many transitions all at once. Building a relationship with an infant, or negotiating the care needs of multiple children, invariably generates intense emotions which can manifest as anxiety, love, joy, obsessional worry, sadness, paradoxical loneliness, or an unsettling feeling of not feeling as much as you should. Some women experience psychosis or other extreme states for the first time during this period, or they may have a relapse of an already diagnosed mental illness. Such episodes are all the more distressing because of cultural and personal expectations that becoming a mother be a happy, peaceful time of life. Hospital for Women's perinatal mental health team, comprised of psychiatrists, trainee psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health midwives, provides support during pregnancy and the first year post-birth. Eligibility includes all women delivering at RHW, with those in the local area able to access services for a year post-birth. During the booking visit, mental health is assessed, and referrals are made as needed. If interested in our services and not yet referred, please discuss with your midwife or doctor to arrange a referral.


  • The Perinatal and Women’s Mental Health Service supports women who are receiving antenatal care at the Royal, who have birthed at the Royal within the last year and live within the SESLHD, and parents whose babies are in the NICU. 
  • For more information, see the Perinatal and Women’s Mental Health Psychology Service page.


  • Women can be referred by their general practitioner, obstetrician, social worker or the perinatal mental health midwife to see one of the psychiatry doctors. They will have a detailed assessment of their mental health and treatment recommendations will be made in collaboration with the women. Possible recommendations include monitoring, psychological therapy, and consideration of medication. 


  • The Clinical Midwifery Consultant (CMC) in Perinatal Mental Health at RHW coordinates care for women booked into RHW for their baby who have mental health concerns such as anxiety or low mood, these include preexisting Mental Health conditions  or ones that emerge during the perinatal period. The CMC Perinatal Mental Health provides clinical advice to patients, carers, and other health professionals within a defined specialty. The CMC PNMH develops Psychosocial Support Plans for women when needed for their Birth & Postnatal admission.
  • Referrals to the CMC Perinatal Mental Health are through the Multidisciplinary Case Discussion after the completion of the psychosocial questionnaire at booking. Referrals are made by the booking midwife and allocated to Perinatal Mental Health when appropriate. Referrals can also be made by your midwife, obstetrician, RMO or GP anytime during pregnancy.
  • Referrals are also received up to the first year postpartum from GP’s, Child & Family Health Nurses, Karitane and/or Tresillian for women who live in the Eastern sector of SESLHD.

POMHS service

  • The Perinatal Outreach Mental Health Service (POMHS) clinician is a psychologist or Mental Health Midwife/Nurse who provides care for families during pregnancy & up to 12 months postpartum who are faced with mental health challenges before or during pregnancy or in the transition to parenthood.

  • The SESLHD Mental Health Service caters to a local population of over 930,000 residents in Sydney's eastern and south eastern suburbs, operates through networked services in the north (Eastern Suburbs Mental Health Service) and south (St George and Sutherland Mental Health Service), encompassing both hospital and community settings. The service is committed to inclusivity and responsiveness, tailoring initiatives for consumers with complex needs. Providing age-specific and specialised services, the SESLHD Mental Health Service empowers stakeholders to influence system change. The service supports community understanding of mental health and effective treatment access. 
  • Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) is an Australian not-for-profit organisation that provides support, information, and resources related to mental health and emotional well-being during the perinatal period (from pregnancy to the early postnatal period). COPE offers a range of services, including online resources, helplines, and educational materials, to support individuals and families dealing with perinatal mental health issues.
  • This Way Up offers online treatment programs for perinatal mental health designed to teach practical skills to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
  • MotherSafe is a free telephone service for the women of NSW, based at the Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick. The MotherSafe service provides a comprehensive counselling service for women and their healthcare providers concerned about exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding.