Antenatal Depression Affects Both Men and Women.
The transition to becoming new parents is one of the most significant changes in life, and most couples find it challenging.
Many adjustments have to be made to successfully navigate this transition to becoming parents and we have put together a list of information and help services below. Read more: Mood changes
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These fears are not unusual and all pregnant women should expect some mood variation in pregnancy. But for about 10% of pregnant women depression can become a significant problem with Antenatal Depression.
The term psychosis is the name for a group of mental illnesses where there is a loss of contact with reality. With time and careful management, most people do recover fully from these episodes – many never having another episode again.
Postnatal depression (PND) can be a devastating and debilitating illness that can persist and affect not just a new mother but everyone around her. PND is not a modern condition. Each generation calls it something different. What we call PND today may have been called a ‘nervous breakdown’ fifty years ago.
IDENTIFYING POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
The early signs of PND are recognizable and help and interventions are available. But it can be very difficult to identify and diagnose PND in the early stages of its development for some of the following reasons:
Women who experience depression after having a child are known to experience higher levels of distress in terms of symptoms and relationship difficulties (particularly marital) than non-childbearing women with depression. PND can have long term effects on the mother, her infant and children and on the couple and family relationships.
RISKS OF POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
If PND remains unidentified, untreated or is moderately severe the woman may be experiencing some thoughts and behaviour that present a risk to her or her baby. For most women their thoughts of harm or suicide are fleeting and represent a desire for their pain and distress to go away, for example a desire to go away and not come back.
PREVENTION OF POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
Education during pregnancy, the antenatal period, provides a valuable opportunity to raise expectant couples’ awareness of mood changes related to childbirth.
POSTNATAL DEPRESSION AND CHILDBIRTH TRAUMA
The expectations of a mother-to-be of a calm, natural and fulfilling labour and childbirth, surrounded by supportive people with a sense of control and being heard can be central to her emerging sense of herself as a good mother. Should this type of labour or postnatal period not eventuate the new mother can feel less than a good mother, combined with the emotional and physical scars that remain.
POSTNATAL DEPRESSION AND BREASTFEEDING
Breastfeeding is the method of choice for feeding infants and the World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.
However, the relationship between breastfeeding and PND is as complex as breastfeeding and PND are in their own rights. There is no clear relationship between the two as it depends on the interaction between the individual mother and her experience of breastfeeding.
Above Information is from PANDA – Post and Antinatal Depression Association.
Please remember you are not alone and there is support to help you and your family.
Please visit www.panda.org.au for more information and advice.
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