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Mother & Baby Unit

Who We Are

This family-centred specialist Mother and Baby Unit cares for people who experience severe mental health difficulties during and after pregnancy.  

Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Olivia Protti and her experienced clinical team provide excellent care in a multi-therapeutic environment. 

This experienced and diverse team has particular experience in the care and treatment of people from diverse cultures. We offer a range of opportunities to engage mothers, infants and families in the process of recovery. 

Our ward team consists of registered mental health nurses, nursery nurses, social therapists and a life skills recovery worker. This work is further enhanced in therapy by a psychologist, occupational therapist, parent-infant psychotherapist, art therapist and dance movement therapist. 

There is access to physical exercise and activities facilitated by a trained member of staff which can be facilitated either on or off the ward.

Please note that the City and Hackney Centre for Mental Health is now a smoke free site.

Baby asleep with a teddy

Conditions Treated

  • Women with a pre-existing mental illness who suffer a relapse during pregnancy or after giving birth, such as bi-polar affective disorder, schizophrenia, recurrent depressive disorder, severe anxiety disorder and schizo-affective disorder 
  • Women who develop an acute mental illness such as puerperal psychosis or depression during or after pregnancy 
  • Women who are at significant risk of becoming unwell in the perinatal period (prophylactic admissions) who have established diagnosis of mental illness and are already known to mental health services – referrals will be considered from 32 weeks gestation 

Women can be admitted from the age of 18 years old (referrals for women aged 16 years will be considered on a case by case basis) 

What This Service Does

On-site maternity and paediatric services with access on the unit to a Specialist Midwife for Mental Health 

Capacity to accept urgent and out of hours admissions 

Sensory Room for use as part of therapeutic activities available to both mother and infant 

Uniquely the unit can cater for mothers with twins 

We have facilities to support mothers with a physical disability.

Consultant Information

We offer:

  • A comprehensive medical, nursing, social and psychological assessment of mothers
  • An individualised care plan to meet the mother's needs throughout admission that specifically addresses pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding or known physical health concerns
  • Culturally sensitive, person-centred care for all mothers
  • One-to-one support for mothers in order to help meet the developmental, physical and emotional needs of their baby
  • Support for the whole family. We actively encourage the involvement of partners, family members and friends
  • A well thought-through, personalised discharge plan in keeping with the Care Program Approach.

Environment and Facilities

On arrival, mothers are met by a member of staff and welcomed. Our family orientated environment is very safe and secure:  

The unit has twelve large, comfortable rooms. Ten of these rooms have ensuite facilities. All of the rooms are equipped to accommodate mothers with their babies and are fitted with nurse call buttons should a mother require support or assistance from staff.  

Uniquely, there is a specially designed room to support women with twins and women with a physical disability. The room has spacious en-suite facilities and has been designed to accommodate mobility needs and/or use of a wheelchair.  

Babies are expected to sleep with their mother in their room. However, in situations where the mother is unable to care for her baby, there is a nursery with staff in attendance. The nursery is visible at all times and accessible to mothers and families.  

The unit has a welcoming lounge and dining area with a TV, music centre, magazines and newspapers.  

There is a kitchen for mothers to make drinks for themselves and their families when they visit.  

A key feature is a large courtyard garden with a children’s play area to provide a safe stimulating outside space for women and their children. The unit has added a conservatory that allows access to natural light and additional space for visiting with families and facilitation of groups and activities.  

There is an activity room where group activities or one-to-one activities take place.  

There are three private treatment rooms where mothers can consult with their nurse or midwife. Mothers can prepare milk for their baby in our well-equipped milk kitchen which has sterilising equipment and other items to assist with the baby’s nutritional needs.

A specially designed infant’s bathroom enables mothers to bathe their babies easily and safely.

There is a sensory room on the unit as part of the inpatient facilities. This space incorporates the use of light and sound to help promote engagement between the mother and baby. The use of different textures is also included to further enhance the experience for the babies. The room is ideal for women for whom English is not a first language as it allows them the opportunity to do nonverbal therapeutic work that promotes their relationship with the baby. Fathers are also able to access this space to spend time with the mother and baby.

There is a separate consulting room on the unit that can be used for visiting families once pre-arranged with staff.

There are increased facilities for visitors on the unit with 2 separate consulting rooms available for visiting once this is prearranged with staff.

Making a Referral

If you live in the boroughs of Bedfordshire, City & Hackney, Newham or Tower Hamlets, and you are pregnant or have recently given birth and find you are suffering mentally or emotionally, please do not suffer alone. 

You can fill in the Referral form by clicking on the link below and it will be sent to the team in your local area who will be in touch within 7 days.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency  and you or someone you know is in danger,  you can contact our free phone Mental Health Crisis Support teams who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Find the team where you live here>>

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

The aim of a MBU is to ensure that all women who have young infants and who require admission can remain with their baby, enabling the special bond between mother and baby to be unbroken at a critical time in the life of a young family. 

You can download the brochure for Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 HERE.