BMidwif Midwifery / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Perinatal Parent and Infant Mental Health

Course unit fact file
Unit code NURS69771
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Enhanced knowledge and understanding of perinatal mental health is vital to promote maternal/parent and infant well-being and optimise the future mental health of both parents and children.

This unit will equip a range of statutory and voluntary sector practitioners and staff who work with women and families during pregnancy, the perinatal period and the first two years after birth, with an enhanced understanding of perinatal mental health, and its application to pregnancy, parent/infant relationships, parental and family well-being.

The unit will enable participants to be more confident in their knowledge and understanding of perinatal mental health and in recognising and meeting the needs of culturally diverse communities including those of ethnic heritage.

The unit will consider the context of diversity in UK communities and critically explore how Black and South Asian women's experiences of maternity care may impact their mental health.


This unit aims to

  • Critically explore perinatal mental health and its impact on parents, infants and families during pregnancy and the first 2 years of life. 
  • Critically examine strategies and interventions applicable to a range of health and social care professionals in the statutory and voluntary sector that provide support in the perinatal period.

Teaching and learning methods

A variety of interactive on-line teaching materials will be used.  Resources online will include videos, guided activities, and a range of reading material. Learning will include a variety of interactive online activities and synchronous tutorials.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Critically examine the psychological and emotional impact of pregnancy and birth on maternal/parent and infant mental health.
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of the importance of bonding and attachment and the short and long-term impact of maternal/parental mental health challenges on the infant and family.
  • Critically review the evidence that indicates how maternal mental health may be challenged by experiences such as bereavement, complicated grief, abuse and other traumatic life experiences. 
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of the strategies, initiatives, treatments and care pathways that have been developed for identifying, assessing and supporting maternal/parental mental health and parent/infant relationships.

Intellectual skills

  • Recognise and critically evaluate own and others underlying assumptions related to perinatal mental health.
  • Evaluate critically, and synthesise peer reviewed research/literature, national/local policies and first person experiences of perinatal mental health challenges
  • Apply critical understanding to develop and justify changes to one’s own practice and/or aspects of local service delivery

Practical skills

  • Demonstrate how practice will be influenced by critical synthesis of first person perspectives, theoretical knowledge, research evidence base and personal reflection.
  • Demonstrate skills in leadership and partnership working via discussion, debate and shared learning.
  • Appraise and apply national guidelines which influence the identification and assessment and management of maternal mental health.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Communicate effectively and sensitively (verbal, non-verbal, written) to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Develop and utilise IT skills.
  • Demonstrate self-directed research and enquiry skills by accessing and analysing literature in order to inform practice.
  • Develop logical and systematic approaches to problem solving.
  • Reflect on own academic and clinical performance and utilise strategies to improve these.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Students will normally have the opportunity to receive feedback on formative work submitted prior to the summative assessment. Other feedback opportunities will also be available in class and online discussion boards. Online feedback is provided in Grademark. Provisional feedback based on internal marking will be made available prior to the Exam Board on the basis that these marks are yet to be ratified at the Exam Board and therefore may be subject to change. A standard feedback mechanism in Grademark is utilised across all postgraduate programmes within the School which provides detailed and constructive feedback on each component and aspect of assessment and identifies areas of strength and those aspects which could be enhanced.

Student feedback is obtained through open discussion forums on blackboard, in class discussions, via formal University unit evaluation forms and also qualitative, in house evaluations at the end of the unit. 

Recommended reading

Evans S Bell K Burton NK (Eds) (2017) Black women’s mental health. State University of New York, Albany

Gellhorn, S. (2016). Postnatal Depression and Maternal Mental Health¿: a Handbook for Front-Line Caregivers Working with Women with Perinatal Mental Health Difficulties . Hove: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd.

Gerhardt, S. (2014) Why loves matters: How affection shapes the baby’s brain (2nd Ed.). Oxford, Taylor Francis.

Hanley, J. (2009) Perinatal mental health: a guide for health professionals and users. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester.

Knight M, Bunch K, Tuffnell D, Shakespeare J, Kotnis R, Kenyon S, Kurinczuk JJ (Eds.) on behalf of MBRRACE-UK. Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care - Lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2015-17. Oxford: National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford 2019

NICE (2014) Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health: Clinical Management and Service Guidance. London.

Psarros A (2018) Mothers’ voices Exploring experiences of maternity and health in low income women and children from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Maternity Alliance, London.

RCOG (2017) Maternal Mental Health- Women’s Voices

Watson H, Harrop D, Walton E, Young A, Soltani H (2019) A systematic review of ethnic minority women’s experiences of perinatal mental health conditions and services in Europe. PLoS ONE 14(1): e0210587. journal.pone.021058

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 54
Project supervision 46
Independent study hours
Independent study 50

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Helen Pusey Unit coordinator

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