A BOLTON midwife has been praised for her work helping mothers to overcome mental health problems during and after their pregnancy.

Natalie Patterson received the chief midwifery officer’s silver award last month for outstanding contributions to safeguarding and her work with vulnerable women and families in Central Manchester.

She joined the trust in June last year as the hospital’s first specialist perinatal mental health midwife.

Ms Patterson said: “The service is still in its early stages, but we’re delighted to be leading the way in what is such an important area of health for women and new mums.

“Being able to see women in a specialist clinic in maternity and develop individual plans of care in collaboration with women and their families, means we are able to offer appropriate care and support to those who may be at risk of developing, or are struggling, with their mental health to improve outcomes for mums and babies.

“I’m proud to have received the Chief Midwife’s Award for this work, and to be working to improve the health of women during what can be an incredibly vulnerable time for them.”

Around 1 in four women will experience mental health issues during their perinatal period; which is pregnancy and anytime up to a year after giving birth.

The team helps those women who are either at risk of, or have developed a moderate to severe mental health problem.

The Trust’s midwives and obstetricians identify women who may be at risk or are struggling with mental health issues in their pregnancy or the postnatal period and refer them for additional support and specialist input.

A joint obstetric mental health clinic is run weekly in the antenatal clinic at RBH by a specialist team made up of staff from both trusts; including specialist mental health midwives such as Ms Patterson, a consultant perinatal psychiatrist and a consultant obstetrician.

As well as supporting women whilst they are inpatients in the maternity unit, the team also offers perinatal mental health services in the community.

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE was appointed as England’s first Chief Midwife as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. She came into post earlier this year. Her role is to improve care for new and expectant mothers and their children, as the most senior midwife in the country.