Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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How do you access a Mother & Baby Unit?

Are mother & baby units better than alternatives? In some areas of the country getting admitted to an MBU can be difficult. Have people had problems trying to access MBUs? If you initially had problems gaining specialist care, what did you try? Did anything work? Is it better to go to an 'out of area' MBU or a more local general psychiatric unit?

4 Replies

My view is that MBU's are of vital importance and essential to keep mother and baby together. The alternative for us was to treat my wife at home, we knew nothing about pp, crisis teams or MBU's; when we finally got told about MBU's, I felt we'd wasted 2 weeks or more trying to deal with the hallucinations, the delusions and overall darkness, whilst not getting the right type and/or level of medications required.

When she eventually got a place in the MBU, the first day saw instant decisions to transfer to different medicines, increase dosages, generally allowing the medical staff to assess my wife constantly and find the 'winning formula' for her. Within the first couple of days the senior consultant sat with us and said "your wife should have been admitted as a matter of urgency, at least 2 weeks ago when the crisis team got involved, if not sooner".


Mother and Baby units are so so important. There simply aren't enough MBU's in this country. I spent time in an acute mixed psychiatric ward for 4 days without my son while a bed at an MBU was being sought. 4 days was a lifetime for me, however I know I am incredibly lucky as some women spend weeks in a general ward and never get a place at an MBU.

Perinatal mental health differs greatly than general mental health. To be placed on an acute ward with both men and women suffering with a range of mental health conditions was one of the most frightening ordeals in my life. A place I don't feel suits a mother with a new born to be placed. Staff generally don't have any expertise in the general acute setting V;s an MBU.

I am lucky in my area there is a specialist team with a wealth of experience. Had I been in a different part of the country my story would/could be very different.

I was in an MBU for nearly 3 months. Which I was very fortunate to be offered, however it was a 2 hour commute each day for my husband to drive back and forth after work. We are in desperate need of more MBU, and more awareness of this illness.


I was unable to go to a MBU as there were no beds and was admitted to a general Psychiatric ward for three weeks until I begged them to let me go home although still very unwell. I was unable to have my newborn baby to stay with me. It was terrifying and being in the wrong environment did so much damage. In the early stages of the psychosis I really believed that the staff on the ward were trying to kill me. I was hysterical when my partner and my Dad tried to leave me when they went home. If my partner had been allowed to stay with me I wouldn`t have been so traumatised. It is vital to have specialist help when going through PP and being put in the wrong environment with staff with very little knowledge of PP can hinder recovery substantially.


Sarah, that must of been awful being without your baby for 3 weeks :( I was without my baby for only 4 days but it still leaves me feeling bitter about it even now when I think about it.

I also felt in the acute setting staff even didn't bother or didn't have the time. Mother and baby units are def the right place for women, wishing there was more of them.


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