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Mother and Baby Unit

Where to find a Mother and Baby Unit Near you

Maternal mental illness has an impact on the emotional, cognitive and behavioural development of children. Thankfully Mother and Baby Units exist in the UK where mothers and their babies can have a safe environment as they receive care. However, not every mother in the UK knows the existence and the location of the Mother and Baby Units in the UK.

In this post, we define what Mother and Baby units are and also list their locations in the UK.

What is a Mother and Baby Unit?

A Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) is a specialist unit for women with mental health problems during and after pregnancy. The in-patient treatment unit admits mothers with postpartum psychosis together with their babies.

At the supportive centre, mothers with mental illness receive specialist treatment and care. The unit treats mothers with:

  • Severe postpartum depression
  • Postpartum psychosis
  • Bipolar disorder and other perinatal mood disorders

Research indicates that women receiving treatment for psychosis in MBUs feel safe and satisfied. This is because MBUs admit women with postpartum psychosis together with their babies. This is unlike a General Psychiatric Unit that separates the mother and baby.

Besides feeling satisfied with the care provided, they also recover quickly. Keeping mother and baby together during care and treatment improves mother-infant bonding.

What Happens In A Mother and Baby Unit?

As aforementioned, an MBU provides a safe environment for women with postpartum psychosis. So, at the MBU, women receive care and treatment to help improve their mental health and the bonding between mother and infant.

Health professionals with specialist skills in caring for women with postpartum psychosis work at the MBUs. These professionals work as a team so that they can have a clear understanding of each patient’s circumstances and experiences.

From their observations, they can advise the patients on the best care and treatments to help them recover.

Each mom receives a bedroom with a private bathroom plus a cot for the baby. For the duration of their stay, mums will receive help and support from members of the staff 24/7 until they recover.

Family members and friends can visit and offer support and reassurance. After being discharged, the team will advise your family and friends on how to help you recover at home.

Who Works In A Mother and Baby Unit?

The following professionals work in a Mother and Baby Unit.

Perinatal Psychiatrist

A perinatal psychiatrist specialises in working with women with mental health problems. In the MBU, a perinatal psychiatrist is one of the senior-most professionals. He or she has the expertise in the use of medication for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

Perinatal Mental Health Nurses

At the MBU, each patient has a perinatal mental health nurse. The nurse, who is in charge of the ward, has the most contact with the mums during their stay at the MBU. As such, they get to know the patient very well.

Nursery Nurses

As aforementioned, MBUs admit mothers together with their babies. To ensure the babies receive the much-needed care, MBUs have nursery nurses. Each mum and baby has a nursery nurse who provides advice and helps mums care for the babies while at the MBU.

The baby will usually sleep in a cot in the room with you. So, if you need more sleep, the nursery nurses will take care of your baby through the night. When it comes to feeding the baby, they will be there too. Whether you’ve chosen to breastfeed, bottle-feed or both, they will support you to feed your baby.

Psychologists

Psychologists diagnose, assess and treat behavioural dysfunctions and psychological problems. In addition, they organize talking therapies for the mums at MBUs to help with their recovery.

Basically, mums will participate in individual therapy, group therapies and parenting groups. These activities provide a great opportunity for mothers to meet other mothers and share their experiences.

Pharmacist

Pharmacists are responsible for managing and overseeing the dispensing of medication. They are also trained to handle, store, prepare and dispense various medications. At the MBU, they advise the clinical teams about medications prescribed to patients in the wards.

What Kind of Mental Health Problems Require Admission to a Mother and Baby Unit?

Around 1 in 5 pregnant women have a mental health problem during their pregnancy and a year after having a baby. These women will usually be admitted to an MBU which specialises in treating the following mental health problems:

  • Postpartum Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar Affective Disorder
  • Postpartum Psychosis
  • Severe depression
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorders

Any health professional can refer a mother with mental health problems to an MBU. You, your partner or another family member will speak to your midwife, psychiatrist or GP to know if you need admission. Before admission, you’ll see a mental health professional who will make sure that the MBU is the best location for your treatment.

A referral form is usually completed and will include information about you, your family and your current health concerns. The form will also include information such as your current and past health problems and treatment.

How Long Do Mums Stay in Mother and Baby Units?

Women with mental health issues stay at the MBU for 8 weeks on average. However, some will stay for a couple of weeks while others will extend their stay for months. Your stay at the MBU helps with your recovery. It also provides time to make sure that you receive the right treatment and support for your mental health problem. This will increase your confidence as a parent.

To help you with your recovery, the MBU will recommend activities such as mindfulness, relaxation and baby massage. Arts and crafts are also available. They include photography, baby hand and foot painting, crocheting, collage work and others. Exercises such as gentle walks and gym sessions help with your recovery.

Where are Mother and Baby Units Located in The UK?

There are 19 Mother and Baby Units in the UK that provide specialist in-patient care for mums with severe mental illness. The following is a list of MBUs in the UK.

Mother and Baby Units in London

  • Coombe Wood Perinatal Mental Health Unit Park Royal Centre for Mental Health Acton Lane London NW10 7FL
  • East London MBU, City and Hackney Centre for Mental Health Homerton Row London E9 6SR
  • Channi Kumar MBU, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, London, BR3 3BX

Mother and Baby Units in the Midlands

  • Barberry MBU, National Centre for Mental Health, 25 Vincent Dr, Birmingham B15 2SJ
  • Brockington MBU, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust St George’s Hospital, Corporation St, Stafford ST16 3SR
  • Derby MBU, The Beeches Unit, Radbourne Unit, Uttoxeter New Rd, Derby DE22 3WQ
  • The Margaret Oates Mother and Baby Unit (8 beds). Hopewood, Foster Drive, Nottingham, NG5 3FL

Mother and Baby Units in East Anglia

  • Hellesdon Hospital, Drayton High Road, Norwich NR6 5BE

Mother and Baby Units in Yorkshire

  • Beadnell Mother and Baby Unit Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust. St Georges Hospital, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2NU
  • Leeds Partnership NHS Foundation Trust MBU, 16 Stanningley Rd, Armley, Leeds LS12 2AE

Mother and Baby Units in the North West

  • Ribblemere Unit, Chorley and South Ribble District General Hospital, Preston Road, Chorley, PR7 1PP
  • Manchester MBU, Andersen Ward, Laureate House, Wythenshawe Hospital, Southmoor Rd, Wythenshawe, Manchester M23 9LT

Mother and Baby Units in the South and South West

  • Thumbswood Mother and Baby Unit, 2 Bowlers Green, Kingsley Green, Nr Radlett, Hertfordshire, WD7 9HQ
  • Rainbow MBU, The Linden Centre, Woodlands Way, Broomfield, Chelmsford CM1 7LF
  • Rosewood Mother and Baby Unit Greenacres Bow Arrow Lane Dartford Kent DA2 6PB
  • Winchester MBU, Southern Health Foundation Trust, Romsey Road , Winchester, Hampshire, SO22 5DG
  • St Ann’s Hospital, Dorset HealthCare University NHS Trust 49 Alumhurst Rd, Westbourne, Bournemouth BH4 8EW
  • The New Horizon Mother and Baby Centre, Southmead Hospital, Donal Early Way, Westbury on Trym, Bristol BS10 5NB
  • Jasmine Lodge MBU, Wonford House, Dryden Rd, Exeter EX2 5AF

Mother and Baby Units in Wales

  • Uned Gobaith, Tonna Hospital, Tonna Uchaf, Tonna, Neath SA11 3LX

Mother and Baby Units in Scotland

  • NHS Lothian Livingston MBU, St John’s Hospital, Howden W Rd, Howden, Livingston EH54 6PP
  • West of Scotland MBU, Leverndale Hospital, 510 Crookston Road, Glasgow G53 7TU

Further Reading…