Mental health promotion in midwifery practice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter aims to explore how midwives can promote the mental health of all women in their care. This includes women who have or who are at risk of mental illnesses as well as women who are mentally fit and well and for whom we want to help maintain or improve their psychological wellbeing throughout their pregnancy and labour.
In order to achieve this, we first need to explore and define mental health and mental illness to know what they are and consider how pregnancy might impact on them. The chapter will then identify the specific risks to mental health associated with pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period, before exploring interventions to promote maintenance of wellbeing and prevent relapse in women with mental health problems who are pregnant. These different approaches will be broadly framed within a model of primary, secondary and tertiary illness prevention as defined by Boyce et al (2010) in their exploration of health promotion in public health, and by an exploration of the model of mental health promotion and demotion proposed by MacDonald and O’Hara (1998) known as the Ten Elements of Mental Health.
Example applications to practice will be used to illustrate the concepts and approaches and learning activities are proposed to help explore how the mental health of women in our care may be promoted or demoted. The learning outcomes for this chapter are:
• For midwives to be able to promote the mental health of all women in their care through primary, secondary and tertiary illness prevention interventions.
• For midwives to understand what bio-psycho-social factors might put a women’s mental health at risk during pregnancy.
• For midwives to consider what sociological and organisational factors, impacting both on the women in their care and on the exercise of their practice, might risk demoting women’s mental health.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth Promotion in Midwifery. Principles and Practice. 3rd edition
EditorsJan Bowden, Vicky Manning
Place of PublicationBoca Raton, FL
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages166
ISBN (Print)9781498725569
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Mental Health
  • Health Promotion
  • Midwifery


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