This guideline covers recognising, assessing and treating mental health problems in women who are planning to have a baby, are pregnant, or have had a baby or been pregnant in the past year. It covers depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, drug- and alcohol-use disorders and severe mental illness (such as psychosis, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). It promotes early detection and good management of mental health problems to improve women’s quality of life during pregnancy and in the year after giving birth.

MHRA advice on valproate: In August 2017, we added footnotes to recommendations 1.2.3, 1.4.27, 1.4.28 and 1.4.29 with a link to the MHRA toolkit on the risks of valproate medicines in female patients. We also updated a crosslink in recommendation 1.8.23 to link to the NICE guideline on violence and aggression. Footnotes were also added to recommendations 1.4.17 and 1.9.9 advising people that the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory is available as an additional resource when seeking advice about specific drugs.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Commissioners
  • Social services
  • Voluntary and private sectors
  • Women who have, or are at risk of, mental health disorders during pregnancy and the postnatal period and their partners, families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

We checked this guideline in June 2017. We found no new evidence that affects the recommendations in this guideline. However, we have made some editorial or factual corrections.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This guideline updates and replaces NICE guideline CG45 (February 2007) and section 1.5.6 of NICE guideline CG62 (March 2008).

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)