When talking about health problems during pregnancy most people are able to identify physical symptoms with recognition of mental health problems being quite low. Did you know that 1 in 5 women in Australia suffer from postnatal depression with more than half of these experiencing depression during the prenatal period?
Did you also know men can suffer postnatal depression with 1 in 10 men experiencing depression during the pregnancy or after the baby is born?
Before we go any further let me talk about what perinatal disorders mean. Perinatal is the period from when the pregnancy begins until the newborn is one year of age. A term that is familiar to a lot of people is the “baby blues”.
Other disorders that can be experienced during the perinatal phase include Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder. In fact, for women with a family history of Bipolar Disorder, giving birth and the ongoing disruption of circadian rhythms through sleepless nights is a significant risk factor to trigger a first episode of Mania marking the onset of Bipolar Disorder.
That’s a lot you can experience, isn’t it!
Being a new mum is hard!
People seem to perceive that knowing how to look after a baby comes naturally. All the glowing pictures in the media and social media help to maintain this. However, pregnancy is a powerful and life changing experience that affects both the mother and their partner. Following is a list of signs of when it is a good time to seek help from your doctors and a perinatal mental health practitioner:
If this is you, you’re not alone and help is available.
It is really important to speak to someone and seek support if you are feeling this way. Talk to your partner, family and friends. Let them know how you are feeling. It is also important to talk to a professional.
The first step is to speak to your GP. Ask for a referral to a psychologist experienced in treating perinatal disorders.
Seeing a psychologist does not mean you are going crazy or a bad mother/father. A psychologist can support you to overcome these thoughts and feelings, helping you to feel better and navigate this challenging time.
Here at CBT Professionals, we have experienced psychologists in treating Perinatal Disorders. If you would like to consult a CBT Professionals psychologist, download our Psychology Referral Fact Sheet and take it with you to your extended consultation with your GP. The Fact Sheet has all the information on the referral pathways that may be accessible to you.
Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only and is not intended to replace advise from your doctor or registered health professional. Readers are urged to consult their registered practitioner for diagnosis and treatment for their medical concerns.