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Perinatal mental illness is associated with considerable maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. However, there are currently no specific guidelines on the standards and structure of postgraduate perinatal psychiatric training in Europe. We describe the characteristics of available and desired specialist perinatal psychiatry training from the perspective of European psychiatrists in training. An online survey was conducted among 34 national psychiatric trainee association representatives of the European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees (EFPT). Participants from the countries in which perinatal psychiatry training was available were invited to participate in in-depth follow-up interviews. Six countries out of 34 (18%) reported that specialist training in perinatal mental health was available (Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Malta, and the UK). The nature of available training varied in duration, the supervision and assessment model employed, and the training scheme context. Of the 28 countries where specialist perinatal psychiatry training was unavailable, the majority of national representatives (22 countries, 76%) wanted specialist perinatal psychiatry training to be included in their national training curricula. There is a gap between the expected skills and the available training for psychiatrists to meet the mental healthcare needs of women in the perinatal period. Given the prevalence and impact of perinatal mental illness and the expressed desires of trainees themselves for specialist training, this finding should prompt urgent action.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch Womens Ment Health

Publication Date



European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees (EFPT), Perinatal mental health, Postgraduate training, Psychiatric training