Best practice when working with women with serious mental illness in pregnancy

Kay Madelon McCauley-Elsom, Wendy Michelle Cross, Jayashri Kulkarni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Introduction The current literature highlights that the key treatment and management of women with psychosis is with atypical antipsychotic medications. However, many clinicians lack the knowledge and confidence in the management of the woman who is pregnant or planning to be, whilst taking antipsychotic medication. To maintain her optimal mental health status they require access to the most current evidence at the time when decisions must be made about ongoing care. Clinicians who provide care for this vulnerable group of women, their families and their babies during pregnancy, birth and postpartum encompasses those in both maternity and mental health services. They work in a variety of different ways with their clients, however most recognise that they work to achieve the best outcome for both mother and baby, but struggle at times to know how best to achieve this because working with this group of women requires specialist skills and knowledge. Method A qualitative descriptive design, using semi structured interviews to explore and describe the experiences of clinicians in three health care settings in Victoria, Australia was adopted. The emergent themes related to the current management, issues and problems that arise for clinicians, particularly in relation to the management of medications. Findings An optimal outcome was described by.....
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185 - 203
Number of pages19
JournalMental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Cite this