Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said Scottish Government plans to provide pregnant women with vitamins miss a crucial part of the maternal health jigsaw as he called for a step change in perinatal mental health services.
Recent research from NSPCC Scotland revealed that there are significant gaps in perinatal mental health services at present.
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:
"Any move that can help boost the health of new mothers and babies is to be welcomed but there is a crucial piece of the jigsaw that seems to be missing here. We know that babies born to mothers who are experiencing perinatal mental ill health are more likely to be born premature and have a low birth weight. In the longer term maternal mental ill health can also impact on children's behaviour and their ability to learn.
"Delivering a step change in perinatal mental health services will make a huge difference and protect mothers and babies alike. Yes, we need to ensure that we do what we can to protect the physical health of pregnant women. But we cannot ignore mental ill health."